On 23 and 24 April 2018, Beijing, China, hosted the 15th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) Defence Ministers.
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister of Kazakhstan Col. Gen. Saken Zhasuzakov, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence of the People's Republic of China Col. Gen. Wei Fenghe, Chief of the General Staff of Kyrgyzstan Maj. Gen. Rayimberdi Duishenbiyev, Defence Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Khurram Dastgir Khan, Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Gen. of the Army Sergei Shoigu, Defence Minister of Tajikistan Col. Gen. Sherali Mirzo and Defence Minister of Uzbekistan Maj. Gen. Abdusalom Azizov (heads of defence agencies). Defence Minister of Belarus Lt. Gen. Andrei Ravkov was invited to take part in the meeting as a guest of honour.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Nurlan Akkoshkarov and Deputy Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Jumakhon Ghiyosov also took part in the meeting.
During the meeting, the heads of defence agencies had a friendly and open discussion, exchanging views on international and regional security matters, the further strengthening of defence and security cooperation, and other issues of shared interest. The participants in the meeting reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing trust among SCO member states on military matters, and working together to counter new challenges and threats, as well as ensuring that peace, stability and security in the region remain priorities for SCO member states.
The heads of defence agencies supported further efforts to promote and strengthen military cooperation. They also stressed the importance of finding new avenues for cooperation and implementing the SCO Defence Ministries' Cooperation Plan for 2018-2019.
The participants expressed their readiness to take part in the joint military counter-terrorist exercise Peace Mission 2018, which is to be held in August 2018 in the Russian Federation.
In addition, the participants welcomed the accession of the defence ministries of India and Pakistan to the Cooperation Agreement among SCO Defence Ministries and other documents on military cooperation, as well as to the Expert Working Group of the SCO Defence Ministers Meeting.
Another important development on the meeting's agenda was Uzbekistan's accession to the Cooperation Agreement among SCO Defence Ministries dated 15 May 2008. The Defence Minister of Uzbekistan signed the agreement at the meeting.
The heads of defence agencies praised the Chinese Defence Ministry for preparing the meeting and expressed thanks for the hospitality.
Following the meeting, the SCO Defence Ministers signed the Meeting Minutes and a Joint Communique.
The meeting participants agreed to hold the next SCO Defence Ministers Meeting in Kyrgyzstan in 2019.