India and Pakistan join Shanghai Cooperation Organization


ASTANA (TCA) — India and Pakistan have become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), after the presidents of the SCO member states — China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — signed a document granting India and Pakistan membership at the SCO summit in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on June 9.

The presidents also signed an SCO convention on countering extremism and adopted a statement of the bloc’s leaders about their countries’ joint fight against international terrorism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a political, military and economic alliance including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia hold observer status in the organization, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

The expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization membership will make the organization more powerful and influential in the political, economic and humanitarian fields, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Sputnik news agency reported.

“Today, new full members join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization… The expansion of the SCO will undoubtedly contribute to ensuring that it will become more powerful and influential in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres,” Putin said at the SCO summit in Astana.

Putin also said that the SCO members should work on combining economic cooperation efforts and national strategies to bring together the capacities of the existing integration projects in Eurasia, including the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.

“As for the economic aspects, I am sure that we must focus on combining efforts, coordination of national strategies and multilateral projects throughout the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The aim is to combine the potentials of the Eurasian Economic Community, SCO, Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] and the Chinese initiative One Belt, One Road,” Putin said.

Sergey Kwan