Being one of the largest and influential regional organizations founded in 2001 with initial six members later expanded to accept two more raising the family of eight transforming the structure to a powerful and dominating level to rule over the entire Eurasian landmass. Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) has entered into eighteen years of its existence.

With members,\ China, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the recent new inclusion of Pakistan and India has shifted the dynamics of the region. Furthermore, SCO has four observer states and seven dialogue partners.

Having twenty percent of the world’s GDP, 75% of the world’s energy resources, and covering 42 percent of the world population with four declared nuclear powers, Shanghai
Cooperation Organization(SCO) was established as an intergovernmental organization of
18 countries, with 8 permanent members.

Apart from having a primary focus on security, the SCO has exceptional potential for deeper economic opportunities between member states. With the emergence of the One Belt, One Road Initiative of 1 Trillion USD in multiple projects for building communications infrastructures across South Asia, Russia, and Europe, this organization is having multifarious opportunities for Pakistan.

With rising in strength of the Eurasian Economic Union has a GDP of over 4 trillion
USD$, the significance of SCO mounting high in the world. After the operationalization
of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, increase in ties with Russia, extradition
a treaty between Pakistan and Uzbekistan for infrastructural connections, CASA-1000,
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan, Pakistan India(TAPI) pipeline project, Iran Pakistan India (IPI) project, functioning of Almaty-Karachi road via the Karakorams (Almaty-Bishkek-Kashgar-Islamabad-Karachi network) are a few of the examples of where the region is moving towards and i.e. greater linkages and larger connectivity hence peace, prosperity and shared destiny of hope.

In June, the 18th Summit of Heads of States of SCO is set to be organized in Qingdao, the
host city in China’s Shandong Province, where China will hand over the chairmanship
of one of the largest regional groups to another member country.

Before this historic event, there were several other related meetings of the grouping that were held during the year, on various aspects including the foreign ministers’ meeting. Quite recently SCO has organized the first regional anti-terrorist structure legal experts meeting hosted by Pakistan, for the first time. The meeting was attended by all the representatives from eight member states as well as the SCO-RATS Executive Committee members. This was the first occasion since the inception of the membership of Pakistan that such a high-level meeting was hosted by the country.

A few months before, Pakistan and India have taken part in the joint military exercises in Russia, which has witnessed the historic moment when both arch-rivals took part in the joint security activities. This reflects the power of the SCO and the true spirit of the organization itself wherein the idea of togetherness, shared peace, and prosperity is prevailing.

Along with China, Russia also has an influence on other SCO member states due to their greater economy and military strength but there is no hierarchy found in SCO. SCO is significant because it is the only international organization without the influence
of the western world order.

It is the only organization having the capacity to influence events not only in Central Asia but also in Southeast Asia. It is very well depicted by Chinese scholars as ‘a cart with two wheels, rendering equal significance to security issues and economic development.

In the upcoming Summit of SCO, India and Pakistan are the first time going to attend the summit as a full member state. Pakistan as a full-fledged member of SCO is committed to participating in its activities actively and the President of Pakistan has consented to attend the upcoming SCO summit.

However, the rivalry between India and Pakistan will be a challenge for SCO to continue cooperation and to achieve the goal of sustainable peace in the region. Perhaps, SCO has the capability to sedate their bilateral differences and explore the full possibility of regional economic integration.

It also has a history of resolving issues through dialogue and consensus development through diplomacy. Furthermore, SCO will provide the best platform for both hostile states to discuss mutual issues on the sidelines of SCO summits in the future. Additionally, it would compel them to set their bigotry aside and look for a joint platform for the furtherance of inter-regional connectivity.

Likewise, this platform also provides an opportunity for both states to develop a mechanism for cooperation in Afghanistan. The upcoming summit is expected to set the new direction for SCO cooperation, formulate new measures to strengthen friendly cooperation among member states, explore effective ways to deal with global and regional challenges, and approve a host of resolutions and cooperation deals covering areas including security, economy, and trade, as well as people-to-people exchanges.