The observer countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Iran and Belarus could soon become full-time members of the charter as the decision is under consideration as of now, an official said on Thursday.
Earlier, India had also invited the two countries to participate in the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting which took place on April 27-28 in Delhi.
Minister of Defense of Belarus, Major General Viktor Khrenin and Iranian Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiani participated in the meeting in the national capital that was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The SCO is being hosted by India this year, and Goa is prepared to welcome all of the SCO member states’ foreign ministers to the location where decisions regarding new SCO members will be made.
“The most important work before the SCO Foreign Ministers will be to assess the status of decisions that will be approved at the SCO Summit in New Delhi in July. The meeting will also give an opportunity to discuss the state of multilateral cooperation in SCO, regional and global issues of interest, reform and modernization of the Organization and the progress of admitting Iran and Belarus to the SCO as new Member States,” MEA Secretary Dammu Ravi said in Goa.
He further added that India’s efforts to further deepening of the bonds of friendship and cooperation in SCO were evident through various socio-cultural events that were hosted.
Currently, SCO has Russia, India, China, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its members. If consideration is accepted by the SCO member on Iran and Belarus to take as new members of SCO, it will have 10 members in the SCO by next year.
The SCO has mainly focused its fight against regional security issues, regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. To date, the SCO’s priorities have also included regional development.
“The meeting will also give an opportunity to discuss the state of multilateral cooperation in SCO, regional and global issues of interest, reform and modernisation of the Organisation,” the MEA Secretary said while speaking about the SCO charter in Goa.
Several socio-cultural events organized by India were organized for the first time in the framework of the SCO. To date, India has successfully hosted meetings of SCO ministers of finance, environment, sports, transport, defence, culture, energy, tourism, and ministers responsible for dealing with emergency situations.
“Terrorism is an important element in this summit… Security and terrorism is an emotional issue and it is a normal process in the discussion but it is not the specific agenda. There are many other agendas in the summit,” SCO council sources told ANI.
The theme of India’s Chairmanship of SCO in 2023 is ‘Secure-SCO’. India attaches special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interactions in the region. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization established in 2001.
The last meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India took over the rotating presidency of the SCO at the Samarkand SCO Summit in 2022.
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