Ufa (Russia), July 10:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday thanked the SCO for making India a full-fledged member of the grouping and said India will work with SCO to combat terrorism and extremism.
Modi, addressing the plenary of the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, said the acceptance of India’s full membership “reflects the natural links of history”.
He said: “The future of prosperity rests on the foundation of peace. We will work with SCO to combat terrorism and extremism.”
He said India’s association with SCO will “seek to advance our shared vision to reconnect and integrate Eurasia’s different regions”.
The SCO is an inter-governmental organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The SCO aims to enhance regional security through the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and build connectivity.
Modi said: “For the past few centuries, we have all looked away from the centre of this great landmass, towards the sea and other regions. The time has come to reach out to each other across this region.
“As we look forward, we would lend our support to building infrastructure, easing barriers of trade, expanding connectivity.”
Modi said India would deepen its engagement in HRD, ICT, pharma and health, banking and capital markets, MSME, micro finance and food sector.
Modi also congratulated Pakistan for becoming a full member of SCO, like India.
“SCO is an important part of our vision. I assure you of India’s full cooperation to SCO,” he said.
He also called for promoting deeper understanding and exchanges, saying these, “especially among our youth, will promote greater unity in the region and beyond.
“The future of prosperity rests on the foundation of peace. India will contribute to advancing peace and friendship in the region.”
Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia, are observers, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.
Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed documents at the summit in Ufa on Friday to provide an observer status to Belarus and dialogue partner status to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal, while accepting India and Pakistan to the bloc.
Pakistan and India had filed official bids to join the organisation in September 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, the host, said some other countries have evinced interest to join the grouping and said their bids will be considered.
The next SCO summit will be held in 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. (IANS)