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India, Pakistan join China, Russia in Central Asia grouping

12 June 2017

Hours after Pakistan and India formally joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a security bloc spearheaded by China and Russian Federation at a summit in Astana, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that two countries will have to work together to ensure peace and prosperity in the region.

Describing terrorists as the chief violators of human rights and values, Modi said: " We have full faith that the SCO would give a new push to our efforts in the fight against terrorism".

Noting that India may have gained membership only today, Modi said its relationship with the SCO countries were historical.

"We need to eradicate poverty and terrorism from our region", Sharif said while addressing the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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The two countries agreed to focus on cross-border connectivity and that China will share its transportation advantages on land and by sea with the world's biggest landlocked country to turn Kazakhstan into a key hub for transportation on the Eurasia continent.

The prime minister said the membership would help Pakistan combat terrorism, reduce arms race, fight poverty and deal with climate change and water scarcity.

It was the first meeting between the two leaders after India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing last month in which 29 world leaders took part. "I want to thank all members for their support", Modi announced, adding India's relationship with the SCO countries were historical.

China yesterday also pledged to contribute an additional 10 million yuan (S$2 million) to the secretariat of the SCO to facilitate its work.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the organization could play an important role in bringing peace in Afghanistan.

In his address at the summit of Heads of State Council of the SCO, he said Pakistan pursued a policy of peaceful neighbourhood and stressed upon promotion of peace and harmony for the future generations which should not be made toxic with an air of animosity.

Pakistan has become full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after all the six member states of SCO signed document for awarding membership to Pakistan and India at the afternoon of Friday June 9, 2017 here at Astana. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia now enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.

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