A. 7 members
B. 8 members
C. 9 members
D. None of These

Submitted by: Farjan Ahmed Soomro

There are 9 member countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). China
India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Iran is the newest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic and security organization. In terms of geographic scope and population, it is the world’s largest regional organization, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.

The SCO is the successor to the Shanghai Five, formed in 1996 between the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. On 15 June 2001, the leaders of these nations and Uzbekistan met in Shanghai to announce a new organization with deeper political and economic cooperation; the SCO Charter was signed on 7 July 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003. Its membership has since expanded to nine states, with India and Pakistan joining on 9 June 2017. Several countries are engaged as observers or dialogue partners.

The 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit successfully concluded on September 16 in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, where the heads of states of the SCO’s eight permanent members – namely China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, India, and Pakistan – were gathered to discuss contemporary regional and global challenges. It was the first SCO summit to take place in person since the COVID-19 outbreak.

This year’s summit drew a lot of attention from both regional and Western media, mainly for two reasons. First, it was the first summit of the SCO heads of state since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began. The SCO, of which Russia is the leading member, thus attracted the media’s focus. Adding to the significance, on the sidelines of the summit Chinese President Xi Jinping had his first in-person meeting with Putin since the Russia-Ukraine war began.

Another important feature of this summit was the formal inclusion of Iran as a permanent member in the SCO. Iran signed a memorandum of obligations to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on September 15. As announced by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on his Instagram page, “By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation.”

The president of Uzbekistan formally announced Iran’s full membership in the SCO at the Samarkand summit. The SCO had accepted Iran’s application for membership last year and it will take a year to complete all the formalities. Most probably, Iran’s full membership is scheduled to take effect from April 2023. But from now on, Iran will now be permitted to attend members-only meetings of the organization. Previously, Iran only enjoyed observer status.



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