Moscow: Seeking an expansion of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, India today said it was
ready to take "greater responsibilities" and play a
"constructive and meaningful role" in the grouping.
"India has consistently articulated its desire to play a
more constructive and meaningful role as an Observer at the
SCO," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said, addressing
the 10th summit of the forum in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent.
"We believe that our historically friendly ties with all
the member States, our close political relations and equally,
our burgeoning trade and investment relations, as well as our
expertise, developed over the decades, in diverse sectors...
all equip us to fulfill greater responsibilities in this
forum," he said.
India, along with Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia has a
status of observer state in the grouping, which initially
emerged as a confidence-building mechanism along the former
Sino-Soviet border and later expanded its activities to
combating terrorism and promoting economic cooperation.
The Tashkent summit is expected to set the rules and
criteria for admitting new members.
In 2006 Pakistan had sought SCO membership, but on the
proposal of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev a moratorium
was declared on the expansion of the group.
Russia is keen on India joining SCO as it would to some
extent dilute Chinese influence, while China is for
simultaneous admission of `all weather` ally Pakistan.
"We deeply value the role of SCO in bringing security,
stability and development to our region and stand ready to
step up our engagement to contribute more meaningfully to the
SCO for the common good of the people of our region," Krishna