India to get permanent SCO membership

UFA (Russia): Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the process of India's accession into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has begun.

Putin, the host of the BRICS and SCO summits being held in this Russian city, told Modi: "We are beginning the process of full-fledged inclusion of India into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization."

Putin said it was "a very important event", as Modi expressed his thanks.

"Under your (Putin's) leadership in BRICS, India has become a member of SCO. I am very grateful," the Indian prime minister said.

India and Pakistan, both observers of the China-led bloc, are to be made permanent members of the SCO.

Modi, who arrived earlier in the day from Kazakhstan, thanked Putin for the warm welcome and also for observance of the International Day of Yoga in Russian cities on June 21.

Putin said jocularly that he has not tried to do yoga yet, though he is all for it.

The SCO is a permanent regional association founded in Shanghai, China, on June 15, 2001. Its priority tasks include joint counter-action to terrorism and extremism, cooperation in education as well as in the energy, oil and gas, transport, communication and other spheres.

The SCO comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partners for dialogue.

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