India and Pakistan Become Full Members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Pakistan and India have become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), expanding the regional security grouping into South Asia.
The presidents of the SCO member-states — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — signed a document granting Pakistan and India membership at a summit on June 9.
The presidents signed several other documents at the meeting in the Kazakh capital, Astana, including a convention on joint efforts against extremism.
Talks between the leaders of the six original members were to be followed by a broader meeting including India, Pakistan, and observer states Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia.
Regional giants Russia and China have similar positions on major global issues but are in a competition for influence in energy-rich Central Asia.
Pakistan has been an Observer with SCO since 2005 and applied for full membership of the organization in 2010. The decision, in principle, to give membership to Pakistan was taken by the SCO Heads of States meeting held in Ufa, Russia, in 2015
Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s current members were China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan were observers while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka were dialogue partners.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the new members: “hope India and Pakistan strictly follow the charter of the SCO and the idea of good neighbourliness, uphold the SCO spirit, improve their relations and inject new impetus to the development of the SCO.”