What Is It?* China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan set the group up in Shanghai in 2001.
* It grew out of the Shanghai Five, which was founded in 1996 to demilitarize the border between China and the former Soviet Union.
* In 2004 and 2005, it accepted Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan, and India as observers.
* The member states occupy a territory of over 30 million square kilometers and have a population of 1.5 billion.
Strategic Significance* An antiterrorism center was opened in Shanghai in 2003. Russia and China held their first joint military exercises, Peace Mission 2005, in August 2005.
* The group held joint military exercises in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 2006 and in Russia in 2007.
Economic Significance* Competition for Central Asian energy supplies has increased the level of interest in the organization.
* Uzbekistan signed a $600 million joint energy exploration deal with China in 2006.