DUSHANBE, April 1, 2014, Asia-Plus – A three-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Defense Ministers kicked off in the Tajik northern city of Qairoqqum today.

Delegations of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are led by defense ministers while Uzbekistan is represented at the meeting by the first deputy defense minister.

Presided over by Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo, the meeting is expected to discuss in-depth the consensus reached by leaders of the SCO member states and the concrete measures to maintain regional security and stability and deepen the defense and security cooperation.

The joint anti-terrorism military exercise, dubbed Peace Mission 2014, which will be conducted in China this year is also among major topics of the meeting.

Founded by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on June 15, 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization.  Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

The Organization currently has six full members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India are four observer states, and SCO’s dialogue partners include Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey.