15:12 GMT +323 September 2018
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    Shanghai Cooperation Organization may turn into interregional structure - expert

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    MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) may soon turn into an interregional structure dealing with internal and external security issues, an expert said on Wednesday.

    Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, the vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, said "the organization was intended to establish large-scale regional security."

    During a RIA Novosti roundtable prior to a summit of the organization, which unites Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, Ivashov said: "It is positive thing that the SCO is expanding its activities."

    According to him, Russia has proposed that India and Iran be given observer status within the organization, whereas China is insisting on Pakistan's candidacy.

    Ivashov said the SCO did not want to form a full-fledged military union.

    "The SCO is the geopolitical union of friendly states. There will be a military factor but it will not be a priority," Ivashov said.

    According to him, there is no major force in the region that would require the forces of a military union to combat it. Current problems in the region, such as terrorism and drugs, can be combated by different means.

    Sergei Makarov, the director of the Institute for Political Studies, said that the SCO aimed to contain the drugs threat and counter radical Islamism.

    He said the other tasks of the organization were to maintain stability in member countries and develop economic cooperation.

    Iran, India and Pakistan may receive observer status at the organization's next summit in July in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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