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India keen to deepen security-related cooperation with SCO

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 20:35

New Delhi: India has renewed its pitch for a "larger and wider" role in Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, saying it was keen to deepen security-related cooperation with the six-nation grouping.

India`s keenness to play a bigger role at the security block was conveyed by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh when SCO Secretary-General Dmitry Fedorovich Mezentsev held talks with her here.

The talks also touched upon regional matters of common and contemporary relevance such as tackling counter-terrorism and narco-trafficking in the region, in the context of the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

During the talks on Monday, Singh reiterated India`s readiness to play a "larger, wider and more constructive" role in SCO. Both Singh and Mezentsev deliberated on various dimensions of India`s current and prospective association with the organisation.

Mezentsev called on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also.

India has been an observer at SCO since 2005 and has generally participated at the ministerial-level at summits. SCO focusses on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian space. India is keen to be a full member of SCO.

The precursor of SCO was "Shanghai Five" constituted by China in 1996 to address border security issues with four of its neighbours.

In its present form, SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the 2005 Astana Summit. The Tashkent SCO Summit in June 2010 lifted the moratorium on new membership, paving the way for expansion of the grouping.

India has been been actively involved in SCO activities and working closely with SCO member states. It has indicated willingness to play a more constructive and larger role in the SCO as an when SCO decides to expand.

First Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 20:35

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