Tajik defense minister in Tashkent to attend SCO meeting
Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo has traveled to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, to attend a defense ministerial conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that is being held today.
Belarus, which has a status of observer state, has reportedly been also invited .
The SCO defense ministers’ meeting is expected to deliberate on regional security challenges, including the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
While, in Tashkent, Sherali Mirzo is expected to hold a number of bilateral meeting.
The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organizations.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded at a Summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization currently has eight full members -- China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Besides, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are four observer states.
It is to be noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran came one step closer to becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on September 17 last year with the approval of its bid, 15 years after it first applied. On September 17, 2021, the SCO launched the procedures of Iran's accession to the SCO, which are expected to take "a fair amount of time".
SCO’s dialogue partners include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkiye. ACEAN, CIS, Turkmenistan and the United Nations are guest attendances.
Initially focused on regional security, including border conflicts, terrorism and militant Islam, its activities have expanded to cover economics and trade, transport and law enforcement. Security and economic cooperation remain priorities. China and Russia are the dominant members. Russia regards Central Asia as its sphere of influence but Chinese economic sway is growing. At an informal level, the SCO is a diplomatic platform that helps address and contain potential friction.