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India applies for full membership of SCO

IANS  |  New Delhi 

India Friday formally applied for full membership in the energy-rich Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a security grouping dominated by China, and said it is "ready to assume day to day responsibilities within the context of the bloc".

India has been functioning as observer at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

On Friday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj formally submitted an application for full membership to the SCO on behalf of India at the SCO Heads of State Summit 2014 meeting at Dushanbe, in Tajikistan.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here that following India's application for full membership, it is now for SCO to take the decision on membership.

"It is our expectation that we will be able to contribute to the SCO in a better capacity once the SCO opens up its membership to other countries," he said.

The SCO has amongst its members three largest energy producers in the world - Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. India hopes that with an SCO membership it will gain more access to major gas and oil exploration projects in central Asia.

"India sees the SCO as a forum where it can work regionally on several aspects - like on regional anti terror mechanisms," said Akbaruddin. Referring to the SCO mechanism called Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), he said India feels after gaining full membership, it can contribute in a better capacity, and also in the case of aiding in Afghanistan's development.

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First Published: Fri, September 12 2014. 23:00 IST