MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. India’s and Pakistan’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should help the security grouping comprising Russia, China and four ex-Soviet states in Central Asia to work more efficiently, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
“It is important to practically launch the process of expanding the organization,” Morgulov said in the interview published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Tuesday. “All decisions necessary for that have been taken at an SCO summit in Dushanbe in September last year.”
“Heads of member states, including Russia and China, voiced their support for India and Pakistan becoming full members of the organization,” the diplomat was quoted as saying. “We are convinced that the admission of these states with the experience they have gained as SCO observers should help to boost the efficiency of our group’s practical work and its credibility in the world arena,” he said, adding that SCO members were actively working at a joint development strategy up to 2025.
A major step towards developing multilateral cooperation and creating security in the region was an agreement on border cooperation between SCO member states, Morgulov told Xinhua, noting that the assembly was completing its work on the draft document.
“We are paying particular attention to joint celebrations of victory in in World War Two,” the diplomat added. “Festive events will take place in all SCO countries. Leaders are expected to voice their attitude to this memorable occasion in a joint communique after a summit in Ufa,” he said.
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.