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Lavrov believes accession of India, Pakistan to SCO will 'make history'

ASTANA, April 21. /TASS/. The accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will make history and increase the organization’s global influence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday following the Astana meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council.

"We have considered a package of documents to be committed to the heads of state for approval, first and foremost, these documents concern decisions on completing the membership process for India and Pakistan," the Russian top diplomat said. "It would be no exaggeration to say that it will prove to be a historical event which will increase the organization’s global influence. After India and Pakistan become members, the SCO will include as many as 43% of the world’s population while its member states will account for 24% of global gross domestic product."

Lavrov said that Friday’s meeting had been "the decisive stage of the preparations for the next SCO summit" scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on June 8-9.

The Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was singed in China’s Shanghai in June 2001 by six founding states - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners. The membership process of India and Pakistan began in 2015.