Joint Communique on the results of the Meeting of Defence Ministers of SCO Member States

Joint Communique on the results of the Meeting of Defence Ministers of SCO Member States

On 29 April 2019, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek, hosted the latest Meeting of Defence Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, hereinafter referred to as SCO or Organisation.
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister of the Republic of India Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Major General Nurlan Yermekbayev, State Council Member and Defence Minister of the People's Republic of China Colonel General Wei Fenghe, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic Major General Raimberdi Duishenbiyev, First Deputy Defence Minister (First Deputy Secretary of State for Defence Policy) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Ikram Ul Haq, Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Army General Sergei Shoigu, Defence Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, and Defence Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Major General Bakhodir Kurbanov, (hereinafter referred to as Heads of Defence Agencies), as well as Minister of Defence of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Ravkov, a guest of honour invited by the presiding country.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Xe Xiaoyong and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Jumakhon Giyosov, also took part in the meeting.
The Heads of Defence Agencies had an open and friendly exchange of views on matters of international and regional security and on further strengthening business-like defence and security cooperation. They discussed matters of mutual interest and reached a high level of mutual understanding.
The Heads of Defence Agencies noted that, in light of the growing instability and uncertainty in the international arena, efforts to preserve peace and to ensure sustained development remain the most pressing matters today. SCO member states focus on the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism, as well as efforts to ensure peace, security and stability in the Organisation's region.
The Heads of Defence Agencies emphasised the special significance of defence and security cooperation as a fundamental prerequisite of the Organisation's consistent improvement. They were unanimous in noting that the defence agencies of SCO member states will strengthen mutual trust in the military sphere and expand dialogue and practical cooperation in accordance with the consensus principle, ensuring the SCO's cohesion and consolidation in line with the Shanghai Spirit that embodies mutual trust, equality, mutual benefits, mutual consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and a striving for joint development.
The Heads of Defence Agencies believe that unfailing compliance with the norms and principles of international law plays a key role in preventing conflicts and resolving pressing global problems for the purposes for maintaining peace and security.
The Heads of Defence Agencies agreed that peaceful dialogue and constructive talks based on the principles of equal responsibility for peace and security, mutual respect, non-interference in domestic affairs and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states must become the foundation for resolving all disputes between states.
The Heads of Defence Agencies affirm that the unilateral and unlimited build-up of missile-defence systems by certain countries or groups of states is detrimental to international security and destabilise the global situation. They consider it unacceptable for one's own security to come at the expense of other states' security.
The Heads of Defence Agencies agreed to further expand military cooperation in the interests of maintaining regional security and creating favourable conditions for the SCO's sustained and reliable development. As such, they deemed it important to chart common, comprehensive and mutually acceptable approaches to maintaining security in line with the principle that SCO activities are not directed against third parties. They also deemed it important to facilitate the coordination of international, regional and national projects and development strategies and the forging of a common vision for creating a community of shared destiny for humankind.
The Heads of Defence Agencies stressed the importance of implementing the 2018-2019 Cooperation Plan between Defence Ministries of SCO Member States and approved the Cooperation Plan between Defence Ministries of SCO Member States for 2020-2021.
They signed a protocol on amending and augmenting the 27 June 2007 Agreement between Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on Holding Joint Military Exercises.
The Heads of Defence Agencies praised the role of the Russian Federation in combating the forces of international terrorism in the Syrian Arab Republic, destroying terrorist organisations that operate in that country, providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria and helping restore Syrian infrastructure. They stressed the need for further consolidating the efforts of SCO member states to counter the spread of the threats of terrorism, extremism, separatism, illegal drug trafficking and illegal arms sales.
The Heads of Defence Agencies noted the importance of further efforts to counter the threats of terrorism and will continue cooperation to thwart manifestations of terrorism in the SCO region together with competent agencies of their respective states. In this connection, the Heads of Defence Agencies praised the Peace Mission 2018 joint military counter-terrorism exercise that was held 22-29 August 2018 in Chebarkul in the Russian Federation and which involved the armed forces of India and Pakistan for the first time. They noted the need to continue holding Peace Mission joint military counter-terrorism exercises.
The Heads of Defence Agencies noted the value and importance of using the Russian side's advanced experience of combating international terrorism while planning and holding joint combat-training events.
The Heads of Defence Agencies underscored the practical significance of the Expert Working Group (EWG) affiliated with the Meeting of Defence Ministers of SCO Member States, hereinafter referred to as EWG, that has become a new effective consultative mechanism of intra-SCO military cooperation. In this context, they will support the EWG's activities to improve intra-SCO military cooperation.
They noted the timeliness of briefings held as part of EWG meetings and dealing with current security challenges and threats in the SCO region.
The Heads of Defence Agencies noted the need to hold Trumpet of Peace international military music festivals in the future. These festivals are an important platform for consolidating mutual understanding, friendship and military culture exchanges between the armed forces of SCO member states. They called for the continued implementation of the 7 June 2017 Protocol of Intent between defence agencies of SCO member states in the area of studying, preserving and popularising historical and cultural heritage in the military field.
The Heads of Defence Agencies praised the efforts of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic to organise and successfully hold the Meeting of Defence Ministers of SCO Member States and also thanked the receiving side for creating favourable working conditions and for its hospitality.
It was decided to hold the next Meeting of Defence Ministers of SCO Member States in the Russian Federation in 2020.