Krishna arrives in Kazakhstan for SCO summit

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 21:15

Astana: External Affairs Minister SM
Krishna on Tuesday arrived here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana which is set for expansion
and could pave way for India`s full membership.

The 11th Summit of the SCO in Astana is expected to
spell out the Memorandum of Obligations that the new
applicant members need to fulfill to become full members.

India is keen to play a larger role in the SCO and was
for it to complete the consideration of its expansion plans.

"Membership of this grouping is decided by consensus
and we have expressed our interest to play a larger role in
the format of this organisation," Krishna told reporters here.

He said India`s intention to play a larger role in the
SCO has been taken note of by the member countries.

"We are hoping that a consensus would emerge for
India`s entry as a full-fledged member of this Organisation,"
he said.

India is also looking forward for cooperation in the
areas of counter-terrorism and economic development of the
region focusing on improving transport corridors among member
nations.

Founded on June 15, 2001, the SCO comprises China,
Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are currently
Observers in the SCO which is now in the process to finalise
rules for taking in new members.

At the 2010 Tashkent summit, the SCO had decided to
lift the moratorium on the expansion of the forum and approved
the regulation on the procedure for admitting new members for
the SCO.

"The SCO is an association of countries where we get a
platform to understand each other better and we could also
exchange notes about our perceptions of the region," Krishna
said.

"India attaches considerable importance to this
grouping of six countries," he said.

Officials said India would await the Memorandum of
Obligation for new members which is expected to be approved by
the SCO member countries.

They said India would go through the minutiae of the
Memorandum of Obligations and would be happy to play a larger
role if the same is in its interest.

Analysts here are keenly watching the stand the SCO
meeting takes on Iran, which is also an observer nation like
India.

The talk going around in diplomatic circles here is
whether the SCO would allow Iran to be a full member or put in
a clause on barring nations that have UN sanctions imposed
against them.

Afghanistan is also expected to join the SCO as an
Observer state. Currently, it is a special invitee to the SCO
summit meeting.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 21:15

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