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10 Jun 2017   05:39:16 PM   Saturday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

India, Pak become members of China-led SCO

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In a significant geopolitical development, India and its rival-neighbour Pakistan were granted Friday full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at the influential Eurasian political, economic and military bloc`s summit in Astana of Kazakhstan.

Expressing his gratitude to the SCO for accepting India`s membership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the forum represents 42 per cent of world`s population, 20 per cent of its GDP and 22 per cent of its territories.

"Though we have become a member of the SCO only today, our relations with the region have been historic," said the premier of India, which had strayed away from the ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’ conference in Beijing over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route dispute involving Pakistan.

He said energy, education, transport, agriculture, security, development and trade would be the top drivers in India`s ties with the SCO, according to an IANS report carried in The Statesman.

According to Modi, the SCO will also be a powerful partner in the international fight against terrorism.

Speaking after Modi, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated India on getting membership in the inter-governmental organisation.

The formation of the SCO was announced in June 2001. India has been an observer to the forum since 2005.

Besides India and Pakistan, other members of the regional bloc are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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