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India, Pakistan may become SCO members in 2016 — Russia's upper house speaker

July 08, 2015, 14:39 UTC+3
At present, the SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
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MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/. India and Pakistan may become full-fledged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) next year, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, said on Wednesday.

The Federation Council speaker said these countries show "particular interest to the SCO."

"I think that already maybe starting from the next year India and Pakistan will become the full-fledged SCO members," she said, adding with this significant population size and this extent of economies, the SCO will have a great influence on the global politics.

Matviyenko also stressed that the SCO as well as BRICS group, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are integration associations whose activity "is not aimed against anyone."

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent regional association founded in Shanghai, China, on June 15, 2001. Its priority tasks include joint counteraction to terrorism and extremism; cooperation in education as well as in the energy, oil and gas, transport, communication and other spheres.

At present, the SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have an observer status while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners for dialogue.

The SCO population stands at 1.597 billion people, or one fourth of the Earth population, while the aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) amounts to $11.6 trillion.

On July 9-10, Ufa, the capital of Russia's Volga republic of Bashkiria, hosts the SCO summit that is expected to adopt a complex program of the organization’s development up to 2025 and also launching the accession process for India and Pakistan.

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