India, Pak may be inducted into SCO; Iran`s bid under cloud

India and Pakistan are likely to be inducted into the SCO while Iran may miss the bus as the country is already under UN sanctions for its nuclear programmes.

Updated: May 23, 2010, 17:59 PM IST

Moscow: India and Pakistan are likely to
be inducted into the SCO while Iran may miss the bus as the country is already under UN
sanctions for its nuclear programmes.

"The country aspiring to join SCO should not be under
the UN Security Council sanctions," a Russian diplomatic
source was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

At their meeting in Tashkent yesterday the foreign
ministers of the SCO, a regional security grouping, have
approved draft procedures and criteria for the admission of
new members to the regional grouping, which would be finalised
at the SCO summit next month in Tashkent under the rotating
presidency of Uzbekistan.

The Russia-China led SCO has closed its doors for Iran
as it is under UN sanctions, ahead of its expansion to include
India and Pakistan in the regional grouping.

"The document sets out the start of the process of
forming a legal base for the expansion of the organisation,"
Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov announced in Tashkent.

Iran has been pushing hard to seek full membership of
the organisation and in spite of a wave of opposition protests
in Tehran over presidential poll outcome, President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad had flown to Yekaterinburg to attend the SCO
summit, also attended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Iran is facing fresh bout of UN sanctions for its
nuclear programme. Despite an initiative by Turkey and Brazil
under which Iran has agreed to ship much of its low enriched
uranium abroad in a nuclear fuel swap deal but the US said
moves for toughened sanctions would still go ahead.

Currently India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia have an
observer status in the SCO. Earlier at several occasions India
and Pakistan have also voiced their willingness to join SCO,
when it would adopt criteria and procedures for admission of
new members of the grouping, which has began to play a
significant role in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and
cross-border organised crime.

"The procedure of admitting new members is of great
importance for the SCO future. The adoption of this document
at the Tashkent summit on June 10-11 will give an impulse to
the formation of a mechanism of the organisation`s expansion,"
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko
underscored.

He said it is a unique floor for dialogue between
the great Chinese, Indian, Russian and Central Asian
civilisations and cultures which meet in the vast region.

PTI