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India, Pakistan Extend Reach of SCO to Half the World

Representatives of SCO founder nations and observers wave at the end of the grouping’s 2015 summit in Russia’s Ufa, where the decision was made to admit India and Pakistan as full members. India and Pakistan’s imminent accession is expected to broaden the SCO’s geopolitical potential and partially water down the dominance of Russia and China. (Photo: Russian Presidential Press Service)

After years of speculation about their accession, India and Pakistan have finally been admitted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, broadening the geopolitical potential of the grouping, and partially watering down the dominance of Russia and China. The move could also help ease tension between the two South Asian rivals, some experts and officials suggest.

The accession of India and Pakistan, whose hostility in the past has hindered progress in other regional groupings, is being formalized at the 17th summit of SCO heads of state, being held in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, on June 8-9. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is playing host to the gathering, described the development as “historic.”

Other members of the bloc include founder nations China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

While the SCO is regularly portrayed as little more than a talking shop, the expansion is noteworthy and will see the group incorporate two nations that are home to some 1.5 billion people, making the body a regional forum of a scale matched by few others.

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India, Pakistan Extend Reach of SCO to Half the World

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