India and Pakistan will become members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) next year and a formal announcement in this regard is expected to be made at the six-nation grouping’s summit which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week.
“India and Pakistan are not joining the SCO tomorrow. The process of engaging them is beginning,” Yuri Ushakov, Russian Presidential aide, said on Tuesday in a TV interview.
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He said the membership of the two countries in the SCO will be finalised by the next summit to be held in 2016 in India.
India at present has observer status in the grouping that comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Ushakov told Russian channel Rossiya-24 that the process of the two countries’ accession to the political, military and economic alliance will kick off at the upcoming summit here on Thursday, Russian news agency Tass reported.
He said before the grant of membership to the two countries, there is a requirement of coordination of a working memorandum and the two countries will have to join 28 key documents of the group.
“After that, as we hope, the membership of these two countries in the SCO will be finalised and we will be able to talk about our Group of Eight participants,” Ushakov said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive here on Wednesday to attend the SCO summit. This is the first time India will be represented at the prime ministerial level at the SCO summit.
Pakistan along with India, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia also has observer status and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be attending the summit here.
A meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers recently had recommended inclusion of India and Pakistan in the grouping.
Indian government sources had subsequently said that they were “confident” of getting the membership of the body.
To pave the way for admission of India and Pakistan, SCO members had approved two key documents regarding the procedure for granting membership and the obligations of states applying for it in the leaders’ summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in September.