The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established as a multilateral association to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region, join forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
By reinforcing mutually beneficial cooperation, preventing confrontation and conflict, and maintaining equal and indivisible security, SCO aims to build a just polycentric world order, in full conformity with the norms of international law and principles of mutual respect, which meets the interests of each and every State, taking into account their mutual needs and aspirations. As a multinational and multicultural organization, SCO strives to stave off the clash of civilizations across its respective regions.
Adhering to the principles of openness, SCO does not intend to form any alliances or direct its actions against any sovereign entity. It actively and consistently pursues dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and stands for strict observance of the purposes and principles inscribed in the Charter of the United Nations, such as equality and sovereignty of States, inadmissibility of intervention in their domestic affairs, respect for territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, nonaggression, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use of force or threat of force, as well as other universally recognized norms of international law, aimed at maintaining peace and security, establishing partnerships between States, protecting national sovereignty and respecting the right to determine one's own destiny and path forward for political, socioeconomic and cultural development.
The entire structure of the organization is designed to generate multilateral partnerships to assist sovereign members in coordinating strategies and approaches to solving pressing international issues and meeting regional needs. It also provides an opportunity for member States to concentrate their efforts on common goals in accordance with the principles of voluntary cooperation and equitable distribution of responsibilities.
SCO EXPANSION--THE ORGANIZATION'S CAPACITY-BUILDING
The historic summit of SCO heads of member States in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 8-9 June 2017 launched a new stage in the organization's development. One of its principle outcomes was the granting of full SCO membership to India and Pakistan. The accession of these two powerful and influential South Asian States has allowed the SCO to strengthen its capacity and expand the spectrum of its opportunities, including in the sphere of combating existing and emerging challenges and threats.
The vast region comprising SCO member States--stretching north to south from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean, and east to west from Lianyungang in China to Kaliningrad in the Russian Federation--home to almost 44 per cent of the world's population, poses the fundamental task of collectively maintaining stability and effectively counteracting security threats across our respective territories, the responsibility of what is currently the largest regional organization on Earth.
By consolidating four nuclear powers--half of the world's nuclear States--into a single regional organization, SCO serves as an additional deterrent within the system established to maintain the world's strategic balance of power and political stability.