The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Peace Mission 2018 was held in Chebarkul, Russia. Military contingents of the all eight SCO member nations (China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan) participated in this exercise. The exercise was aimed at enhancing cooperation between member states to deal with growing threat of terrorism and extremism. It was for first time since independence, India and Pakistan simultaneously took part military exercise, though armies of two rival neighbouring countries had earlier worked together in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions.
SCO Peace Mission 2018
The exercise provided opportunity to armed forces of SCO nations to train in counter terrorism operations in urban scenario in multinational and joint environment The scope of exercise included professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threat in urban counter terrorist scenario. It also helped to strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of the SCO nations.
Around 3,000 soldiers from eight SCO member countries took part in the exercise. Russian Army was had major participation with 1700 personnel followed by China with 700, India with 200 personnel (167 Indian Army personnel including four women officers and 33 personnel from Indian Air Force). Pakistan contingent comprised of 110 members
Note: The SCO Peace Mission Exercise takes place every two years. The previous editions of this exercise were mainly limited to Central Asian nations. But due to the entry of India and Pakistan (in June 2017), SCO’s counter-terrorism mission now has been expanded to South Asia.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
SCO is political and security grouping of eight countries headquartered in Beijing, China. It was founded in 2001. The full members of SCO are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan. They represent over 40% of humanity and nearly 20% of the global GDP. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have observer status at present.
SCO is successor of grouping called Shanghai Five, founded by China in 1996. It comprised Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001 Uzbekistan was invited to join it and SCO was officially born. After Astana Summit Declaration in 2005, SCO has emerged as regional security organization.
SCO’s main objective is military cooperation between the members. It also works towards intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia. It is primarily centred on its member nations’ Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. The role of China as well as strategic importance of SCO has increased over period of decade and now address problems like terrorism, separatism and militancy in the region.