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SM Krishna leaves for Astana to attend SCO summit

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today left for Astana to attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which is set for expansion, paving the way for India`s membership.

The 11th Summit of the SCO is expected to spell out the Memorandum of Obligations that the new applicant members need to fulfill to become full members.

India is keen to play a larger role in the SCO.

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India is also looking forward for cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism and economic development of the region besides focusing on improving transport corridors among member nations.

Founded on June 15, 2001, the SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are currently Observers in the SCO which is now in the process of finalising rules for taking in new members.

At the 2010 Tashkent summit, the SCO had decided to lift the moratorium on the expansion of the forum and approved the regulation on the procedure for admitting new members for the SCO.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said that India, being an integral part of the Eurasian region, has expressed its willingness to play a larger role in the SCO.

"India shares similar concerns and challenges on security, terrorism, narco-trafficking, trans-border organised crime as well as economic development," Prakash said.

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