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India pitches for larger role in SCO

Sees a greater role for SCO in Afghanistan in backdrop of withdrawal of US-led NATO troops

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Making a strong pitch for its full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, today said it sees a larger role for the security grouping in and evinced keen interest in participating in its counter-terrorism structure to combat challenges of extremism.

Addressing the extended session of the 12th summit of the (SCO) which concluded here, External Affairs Minister said "admired" the grouping which comprised of China, and sates of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and

India, Pakistan and have the status of observer states. has been admitted as new observer during this summit. are the dialogue partners.

"India, on its part, has been participating constructively at all meetings open to the Observers. By doing so, we have shown our strong willingness to be meaningfully associated with this grouping," Krishna said.

"We believe the can potentially play a much larger role in the future both for the security and prosperity of our region," he said.

While has been making strong pitch for the membership and Pakistan in SCO, which plays a dominant role in the grouping said they should comply with formalities and procedures.

Significantly, Krishna said sees a greater role for in in the backdrop of the withdrawal of US-led NATO troops from the war-torn country.

"The most important security challenge we face today relates to Afghanistan, which lies in the heart of Asia and is a bridge, connecting not just Central and South Asia but also Eurasia and the Middle East.

"The provides a promising alternative regional platform to discuss the rapidly changing Afghan situation," he said.

The economic development projects of the can be a meaningful additional effort for Afghanistan's reconstruction, Krishna said.

"has already committed over $2 billion US dollars towards reconstruction and developmental activities in Afghanistan," he said, adding that has "unwavering" commitment for prosperity of the people of

On the anti-terrorism front, Krishna spoke about the need for greater cooperation between and the Regional (RATS) which is currently confined to members of

RATS, which is based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, regularly conducts anti-terrorism military exercises.

"is a long-standing victim of terrorism emanating from our region and believes that there is need for stronger resolve and firmer efforts in tackling this scourge," Krishna said.

"We appreciate greater cooperation within RATS as an important regional answer to this challenge. looks forward to greater engagement with this structure. Illicit narco-trafficking and cyber security are other challenges in the region which deserve greater focus and stronger collective efforts," he said.

He also spoke about India's interest in connectivity between countries.

"The needs to address the problem of connectivity through regional solutions to encourage trade and investment flows between our countries. is ready to cooperate with regional countries to find viable solutions to this problem and contribute to the endeavour to build bridges between Central and South Asia."

First Published: Thu, June 07 2012. 11:52 IST