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Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an international alliance that consists of 9 member states and 4 observers from Eurasia. It was established on 26 April 1996 as the Shanghai Five. In addition to the 9 member states and 3 observers, the SCO currently has 14 dialogue partners and 4 guest attendance entries.

Member states[edit]

Flag Country
Largest city
GDP per cap.
HDI[2] Currency
Official languages Leaders Accession
People's Republic of China
Beijing Shanghai (metropolitan area)
Chongqing (city proper)
9,640,011[b] a1,374,820,000 139.6 13,224 0.727 Renminbi (Chinese yuan, ¥)
Standard Chinese[3]
written in simplified characters[3]
see also languages of China
Head of State: Xi Jinping
Head of Government: Li Qiang
Republic of Kazakhstan
Astana Almaty 2,724,900 d17,670,900 5.94 24,108 0.788 Kazakhstani tenge (₸)
Kazakh (National)
Head of State and Government: Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
(Prime Minister: Alihan Smaiylov)
Kyrgyz Republic
Bishkek 199,900 f6,008,600 27.4 3,262 0.655 Kyrgyzstani som (som)
Kyrgyz (National)
Head of State and Government: Sadyr Japarov
(Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers: Akylbek Japarov)
Russian Federation
Moscow 17,075,400 b146,519,759 8.3 24,449 0.798 Russian rouble (₽)
also see Languages of Russia
Head of State: Vladimir Putin
Head of Government: Mikhail Mishustin
Republic of Tajikistan
Dushanbe 143,100 e8,352,000 48.6 2,698 0.624 Tajikistani somoni (SM)
Tajik Persian Head of State and Government: Emomali Rahmon
(Prime Minister: Kokhir Rasulzoda)
Republic of Uzbekistan
Tashkent 447,400 c31,022,500 61.4 5,630 0.675 Uzbekistani soum (soum)
Uzbek Head of State and Government: Shavkat Mirziyoyev
(Prime Minister: Abdulla Aripov)
Republic of India
New Delhi Mumbai 3,287,240 a1,284,480,000 364.4 8,484 0.640 Indian rupee ()
Hindi (Devanagari script)&, English .
Also see Languages of India
Head of State: Droupadi Murmu
Head of Government: Narendra Modi
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Islamabad Karachi 796,095 b192,779,818 214.3 4,749 0.538 Pakistani rupee (Rs)
Urdu (National)
Head of State: Arif Alvi
Head of Government: Shehbaz Sharif
Islamic Republic of Iran
Tehran 1,648,195 c79,011,700 48.0 17,443 0.766 Iranian rial (Rl)
Persian Head of State:
Ali Khamenei
Head of Government: Mohammad Mokhber (acting)

Military personnel[edit]

The following list is sourced from the 2018 edition of "The Military Balance" published annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Flag Country Active military Reserve military Paramilitary Total Per 1000 capita
Per 1000 capita
China China[6] 2,035,000 510,000 1,500,000 4,045,000 2.9 1.5
India India[7] 1,440,000 2,096,000 1,585,950 5,121,950 4 1.1
Iran Iran[8] 610,000 350,000 40,000 1,000,000 11.4 7
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan[9] 39,000 0 31,500 70,500 3.8 2.1
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan[10] 10,900 0 9,500 20,400 3.5 1.9
Pakistan Pakistan[11] 653,000 0 0 653,000 3.1 3.1
Russia Russian Federation[12][Note 1] 1,013,628 2,572,500 2,310,859 5,896,987 41.5 7.1
Tajikistan Tajikistan[13] 8,800 0 7,500 16,300 1.9 1
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan[14] 48,000 0 20,000 68,000 2.3 1.6
  1. ^ The potential reserve personnel of Russia may be as high as 20 million, depending on how the figures are counted. However, an est. 2 million have seen military service within the last 5 years.

Observer states[edit]

Flag Country
GDP per cap.
HDI[2] Currency
Official languages Leaders Status gained
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar 1,564,115 e3,067,550 1.75 11,919 0.727 Mongolian tögrög (₮)
Mongolian Head of State: Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh
Head of Government: Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene
Republic of Belarus
Minsk 207,595 c9,498,700 45.8 18,246 0.798 Belarusian rubel (Rbl)
Head of State and Government: Alexander Lukashenko
(Prime Minister: Roman Golovchenko)

Dialogue partner entries[edit]

Flag Country
GDP per cap.
HDI[2] Currency
Official languages Leaders Status gained
Sri Lanka
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (Administrative)
Colombo (Commercial)
65,610 c20,966,000 309.0 10,410 0.757 Sri Lankan rupee (Rs)
Head of State and Government: Ranil Wickremesinghe

(Prime Minister: Dinesh Gunawardena)

Republic of Turkey
Ankara 783,562 c78,741,053 102.0 19,698 0.761 Turkish lira (₺)
Turkish Head of State and Government: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 2012-06-07
Republic of Armenia
Yerevan 29,743 c2,998,600 102.0 8,164 0.733 Armenian dram (֏)
Armenian Head of State: Vahagn Khachaturyan
Head of Government: Nikol Pashinyan
Republic of Azerbaijan
Baku 86,600 c9,696,800 109.0 17,761 0.751 Azerbaijani manat (₼)
Azeri Head of State: Ilham Aliyev
Head of Government: Ali Asadov
Kingdom of Cambodia
Phnom Penh 181,035 c15,626,444 84.0 3,276 0.555 Cambodian riel (CR)
Khmer Head of State: Norodom Sihamoni
Head of Government: Hun Manet
Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Kathmandu 147,181 c28,431,500 180.0 2,388 0.548 Nepalese rupee (Rs)
Nepali Head of State: Ram Chandra Poudel
Head of Government: Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Arab Republic of Egypt
Cairo 1,010,408 c94,798,827 103.56 16,980 0.731 Egyptian pound (LE)
Arabic Head of State: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Head of Government: Moustafa Madbouly
State of Qatar
Doha 11,581 c1,699,435 176 113,675 0.855 Qatari riyal (QAR) Arabic Head of State: Tamim bin Hamad
Head of Government: Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani
Saudi Arabia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Riyadh 2,149,690 c38,401,000 15 67,019 0.875 Saudi riyal (SR) (SAR) Arabic Head of State: Salman
Head of Government: Mohammed bin Salman
State of Kuwait
Kuwait City 17,818 c4,294,621 200.2 38,123 0.831 Kuwaiti dinar Arabic Head of State: Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Head of Government: Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah
Republic of Maldives
Malé 300 c515,122 1,102.5 36,358 0.747 Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR) Maldivian Head of State and Government: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih 2023-05-06
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Naypyidaw 261,227 c57,526,449 196.8 5,132 0.585 Myanmar Kyat (K) (MMK) Burmese Head of State: Myint Swe (acting)
Head of Government: Min Aung Hlaing
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 83,600 4,106,427 121 78,255 0.911 UAE dirham (AED) Arabic Head of State: Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Head of Government: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Kingdom of Bahrain
Manama 780 1,504,365 1,864 60,596 0.875 Bahraini dinar (BHD) Arabic Head of State: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Head of Government: Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa

Future participation[edit]

The following countries have applied for a position in the organization:

Flag Country
GDP per cap.
HDI[2] Currency
Official languages Leaders Status applied for Year applied
East Timor
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Dili 14,874 c1,340,513 78 3,637 0.607 United States dollar (USD) Portuguese
Head of State: José Ramos-Horta

Head of Government: Xanana Gusmão

Observer 2012[17]
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Dhaka 148,460 c169,828,911 1,305 2,470 0.661 Bangladeshi taka (BDT) Bengali Head of State: Mohammed Shahabuddin

Head of Government: Sheikh Hasina

Observer 2012[18]
Syrian Arab Republic
Damascus 185,180 c22,933,531 118.3 2,900 0.577 Syrian pound (SYP) Arabic Head of State and Government: Bashar al-Assad

(Prime Minister: Hussein Arnous)

Dialogue Partner 2015[c][19]
State of Israel
Jerusalem[d] 20,770 c9,766,400 442 54,997 0.919 Israeli new shekel (ILS) Hebrew Head of State: Isaac Herzog

Head of Government: Benjamin Netanyahu

Dialogue Partner 2016[19]
Republic of Iraq
Baghdad 438,317 c43,500,000 82.7 12,141 0.686 Iraqi dinar (IQD) Arabic Head of State: Abdul Latif Rashid
Head of Government: Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani
Dialogue Partner 2019[20]
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
Algiers 2,381,741 c44,700,000 17.7 13,324 0.745 Algerian dinar (DZD) Arabic Head of State: Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Head of Government: Aymen Benabderrahmane
Observer 2023[21][22]
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Vientiane 236,800 7,749,595 26.7 9,787 0.620 Lao kip (LAK) Lao Head of State: Thongloun Sisoulith Dialogue Partner 2024[23]

In 2012, Ukraine expressed interest in obtaining observer status. However, since the deposition of President Viktor Yanukovych and increased tensions with Russia, no application has been submitted and there are no current plans to incorporate Ukraine into the organization.[24][25]

In 2011, Vietnam expressed interest in obtaining observer or dialogue partner status. However, it is unknown whether or not, Vietnam has submitted an application.[26]

Guest attendance entries[edit]


Flag Country
GDP per cap.
HDI[2] Currency
Official languages Leaders Status gained
Afghanistan[27] Kabul 652,230 d27,101,365 43.5 1,944 0.465 Afghan afghani (Af)
De facto head of state: Hibatullah Akhundzada
De facto head of government: Abdul Kabir
2012-06-07 (Observer)

Membership declined[edit]

The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2005.[28]


  1. ^ The sovereignty of China is disputed. Since the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War, the Republic of China (ROC), which was formally established on 1 January 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution, which succeeded the former Qing dynasty's territories on mainland China, while the islands of Taiwan and Penghu were under Japanese rule at the time. The ROC gained control over the latter after the surrender of Japan in 1945, but soon lost its control of mainland to the communists due to the Chinese Civil War. The ROC government was relocated to Taipei in 7th December 1949 as its provisional capital and retains actual rule over the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, the Matsu, and other minor islands, all of which are collectively known as "Free Area" or Taiwan Area in contrast to Mainland China being under communist rule, thus making it a de facto island nation, and has become known colloquially as simply "Taiwan" due to the island of Taiwan forming the majority of the ROC-controlled territories; nonetheless, the ROC has not officially renounced its constitutional-defined territories which include areas effectively controlled by the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Tuva (a Russian republic) etc. If claimed territories were taken into account, the ROC would not be a borderless country, nor a country centred around a major island. The ROC-controlled territories are also claimed by the People's Republic of China. Constitutionally, the ROC on Taiwan still views itself as the continuation of former Chinese republic, with legitimate sovereignty over mainland China despite no actual control. See: Political status of Taiwan, Retreat of the Republic of China to Taiwan, Four-Stage Theory of the Republic of China, Two Chinas, One-China policy, and Cross-strait relations.
  2. ^ The actual area under PRC control is 9,596,960.
  3. ^ Syria has initially applied for observer status, but "it was explained that first it is necessary to become a dialogue partner of the organization".[19]
  4. ^ Jerusalem is the capital under Israeli law with a number of governmental institutions located there and is only recognized by the United States, Kosovo, Guatemala and Honduras. While Israel has sovereignty of West Jerusalem, the international community considers East Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation since 1967. Consequently, most of the foreign embassies reside in Tel Aviv. See the status of Jerusalem for further details.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e at purchasing power parity, per capita, in international dollars (rounded IMF 2012)
  2. ^ a b c d e at Human Development Index (New 2013 Estimates for 2012)
  3. ^ a b Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Order of the President No.37)
  4. ^ a b Bhattacherjee, Kallol (9 June 2017). "India, Pakistan become full members of SCO". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Iran joins SCO, the China-founded regional security grouping". Al Arabiya English. 2023-07-04. Retrieved 2023-07-04.
  6. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 249-250
  7. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 260
  8. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 260
  9. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 188
  10. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 190
  11. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 291
  12. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 192
  13. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 207
  14. ^ IISS 2018, pp. 214
  15. ^ https://www.bna.bh/en/BahraingrantedthestatusofSCOdialoguepartner.aspx?cms=q8FmFJgiscL2fwIzON1%2BDlDCMEcGKMPY4rKOqGpdTL4%3D#:~:text=Shanghai%2C%20July%2015%20(BNA)%3A,People's%20Republic%20of%20China%20Dr.
  16. ^ http://eng.sectsco.org/politics/20230718/951659/The-SCO-signs-a-memorandum-on-granting-the-Kingdom-of-Bahrain-the-status-of-dialogue-partner.html
  17. ^ "Azerbaijan asks to join a new alliance of China and Russia".
  18. ^ |url=https://arab.news/5c83v
  19. ^ a b c "Syria, Israel, Egypt willing to join SCO's activity – president's special envoy". Interfax. 23 June 2016. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  20. ^ "'SCO family' widening? Many candidates share 'Shanghai spirit', but expansion not a goal". TASS. 5 September 2019. Archived from the original on 6 September 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Algeria Submits an Application to Join the SCO". Echorouk. 21 June 2023.
  22. ^ "L'Algérie veut intégrer le capital de la banque des BRICS et l'organisation de Shanghai". L'Algérie Audjourd'hui. 21 June 2023.
  23. ^ "African state applies to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization". May 2024.
  24. ^ "Yanukovych Tells Putin Kyiv Wants SCO Observer Status". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  25. ^ Grigoryan, Gurgen (8 October 2012). "Why Ukraine wants to become SCO's partner". InfoSCO. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  26. ^ Radyuhin, Vladimir (2 December 2011). "Vietnam bids to join SCO". The Hindu. Moscow. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  27. ^ Seiwert, Eva (30 September 2021). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Will Not Fill Any Vacuum in Afghanistan". Foreign Policy Research Institute. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  28. ^ Hiro, Dilip (16 June 2006). "Shanghai surprise: The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation reveals how power is shifting in the world". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 September 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2019.