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SCO summit paves way for entry of India: Chinese experts

India on Friday formally submitted an application for full membership to the SCO at the SCO Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:September 13, 2014, 7:29 PM IST
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SCO summit paves way for entry of India: Chinese experts
India on Friday formally submitted an application for full membership to the SCO at the SCO Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe.

Beijing: India has a very good chance of being inducted into Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) along with Pakistan, a development which will strengthen anti-terrorism campaign in the region, Chinese experts believe. India on Friday formally submitted an application for full membership to the SCO at the SCO Heads of State Summit in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe.

Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are SCO members. The bloc now has Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka as dialogue partners. Pakistan and Iran have already submitted their applications to join it.

As the SCO passed a resolution on Friday, Chinese officials say that chance of admission of India and Pakistan into the SCO are good but Iran may have to wait as SCO rules bars any country facing UN sanctions to be its member. At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country readily welcomes countries that meet the requirements for SCO membership.

Feng Yujun, director of the Institute of Russian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said admission of new members provides a firm legislative basis for expanding the organisation. "This will also be a driving force for the future evolvement of the SCO and will facilitate domestic growth and security among new members," Feng told state-run China Daily.

The resolution for admission of the new members, which was kept pending for long apparently Beijing's reservations, specially over India's entry came in the backdrop of SCO's stepped up efforts to crackdown on growing Islamic militancy in China and Central Asia. The presence of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and now Islamic State (IS) taking swaths of land in Iraq and Syria in which a number of militants from the region believed to be taking part has made the SCO states to beef up regions collective efforts to contain the terror group's influence.

"Currently, (we) should focus on combating religion-involved extremism and internet terrorism," Xi said in speech. Chinese analysts said Xi's proposals came at a timely juncture because security concerns could increase in the region in the wake of the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The proposals, would improve the SCO's capability to address members' shared security problems, which threaten to undermine their top priority of development, observers said. Chen Yurong, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said terrorist activities have increased in the region and are likely to escalate if the Afghan-based groups penetrate into neighbouring countries.

Wu Hongbin, former Chinese ambassador to Turkmenistan, said that it is urgent for SCO members to pay more attention to drug control as opium poppy growth flourishes in Afghanistan. "We have to cut the major source of funding for this region's terrorism groups, which is drug trafficking." Farmers in Afghanistan are producing more opium than ever, despite more than a decade of US forces in the country.

"SCO has to speed up cooperation within the group and with the other organizations before it is too late," he said.

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