The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should be given more attention as China and Russia increasingly turn their attention to Central Asia. The two regional hegemons have used the SCO as a platform to balance and coordinate their interests in the Central Asian region. As its primary initiator, the SCO constitutes China’s most important policy tool for regional security in its Western neighborhood.
For Russia, which has co-led the organization, the SCO is a well-established format for Sino-Russian-Central Asian cooperation, which can potentially be used to promote its plans for a Greater Eurasian Partnership. The SCO is also of strategic and political relevance for its Central Asian members, which lack alternative inclusive cooperation platforms.