Krishna arrives in Kazakhstan for SCO summit
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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.


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

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