Saudi Arabia is the latest country to join the SCO with dialogue partner status. Photo/Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool via REUTERS
JAKARTA – The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001.
This organization fosters cooperation among member countries in the fields of borders, economy, energy and culture.
There are eight countries that have become full members, four observer countries, and six dialogue partner countries. Most recently, Saudi Arabia decided to officially join the SCO as a dialogue partner country.
List of SCO Member Countries
1. Arab Saudi
The government of Saudi Arabia decided to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a dialogue partner, on Wednesday (29/3/2023). This makes Saudi Arabia the third Arab country to join the SCO after Egypt and Qatar.
The decision to join the SCO was made in a cabinet meeting chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Saudi Arabia’s status as a dialogue partner country in the SCO could be changed to that of a full member in the next few years.
Discussion of Saudi Arabia joining the organization was first discussed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Riyadh in December 2022.
The Saudi decision to join the SCO is one of the steps to shift away from dependence on the West, especially the United States, and move towards the East.
Iran was recently added to the permanent member states in the 2022 SCO summit held in Uzbekistan. The eight SCO member states agreed to upgrade Iran’s status from observer state to full member.
Iran applied to join the organization as a full member in 2008 and could become inaugurated in 2022, after being an observer member for more than 15 years.
On 9 June 2017, India officially became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India applied for full membership of the SCO with various geostrategic, security and economic considerations.
As India joins the SCO, it is expected to increase trust and cooperation between India and other SCO members. In doing so, this organization can help better serve India’s geostrategic, security and economic interests in the Eurasia region.
Simultaneously with India being decided to become a member of the SCO, Pakistan was also inaugurated as a full member of the SCO in 2017.
Previously, Pakistan had been an observer state of the SCO since 2005 and applied for full membership in 2010. Ultimately the decision to grant membership to Pakistan was taken at the SCO Heads of State meeting held in Ufa, Russia, in 2015.
The official announcement of Pakistan as a full member was made on 9 June 2017 during the 17th SCO Summit. The decision document was signed by the founding members of the SCO, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
Apart from these four countries, there are also other permanent member countries which are also founding members of the SCO. The founding countries of the SCO are China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
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