India to gain SCO full membership alongside Pakistan on June 8-9 at Astana summit
India will be admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during the summit of the regional grouping on June 8-9 in Kazakhstan, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present.
There is a possibility of a bilateral meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the summit at Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. However, the Ministry of External Affairs has denied any interaction with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"Indications are that the last leg of the entire process, as per the Memorandum of Obligations, which is the confirmation (of membership) by the heads of the states of the existing members of the SCO, is going to happen in Astana," G V Srinivas, joint secretary of the Eurasia division in the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
PM Narendra Modi will on Thursday depart for the SCO summit in Astana where the heads of all 6 member states - China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - will endorse the full membership of both India and Pakistan, bringing to an end a protracted process for expansion of the grouping.
"I look forward to deepening India's association with the SCO which will help us in economic, connectivity and counter- terrorism cooperation, among other things," Modi said in his pre-departure statement.
Modi said he looked forward to further progress in ties with SCO nations for "mutual betterment and growth of our countries and our people".
Srinivas said there could also be a couple of bilateral meetings with the leaders of the SCO member countries.
When asked whether the prime minister would meet Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the SCO summit, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, "There is a possibility but the schedule is being worked out and our missions are coordinating locally."
On the possibility of a meeting between Modi and Sharif, he said, "There was neither any request from their side nor any such proposal from our side."
Srinivas added that India had been an observer country at the SCO since 2005 and had applied for a full membership in 2014.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.