India, Pakistan to become full members of China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

MAMOSA Report — The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is expected to officially embrace India and Pakistan as full members at the upcoming summit in June in the capital of Kazakhstan, the secretary general of the organization confirmed.

The two-day SCO Summit will be held in Astana, when welcoming its seventh and eighth member nations would be a key item on the agenda, Rashid Alimov said, according to a post on the SCO Sina Weibo account Wednesday.

Conflicts between the two South Asian neighbors are expected to mitigate following their accession, Li Xing, director of the Eurasian Studies Center at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

“Their membership will probably push them to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the future,” Li said.

It is being expected that China-led platform may provide the impetus to India and Pakistan to resolve its bilateral dispute on Kashmir vis-a-vis SCO members’ apprehensions on attempts by terrorism forces to create regional instability.

Two out of three wars fought between India and Pakistan have centered on Kashmir, a disputed territory for nearly 70 years – since independence from Britain. Both countries claim the whole territory but control only parts of it. And a new war could be even more disastrous for the region as both states now have nuclear arsenals.

Li added that the accession of India and Pakistan will extend the geographical range of the SCO as far as South Asia, instead of being confined to Central Asia.

Li said the non-military organization will connect countries through national strategies, such as China-initiated Belt and Road initiative, the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, as well as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

As for Iran, one of the four observer nations of the SCO, it will be considered for membership when it is free from nuclear sanctions, if it files an application again, Zhao Huirong, a research fellow of Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

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