Russia welcomes India’s intention to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and calls on member states to speed up the accession process, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a joint statement following talks in Moscow on Friday.
“Russia has welcomed India’s intention to join the SCO as a full member,” the statement reads.
India’s accession would “significantly increase the [organization’s] political weight and introduce a new quality and dimension to cooperation within the SCO,” it said.
The SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Mongolia, as well as India’s long-time rival Pakistan hold observer status.
Pakistan is also seeking full membership in the organization. During an SCO summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana in July, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari expressed hope that Pakistan’s membership application “will be put on a fast track.”
In his opening remarks at Friday talks in the Kremlin, Medvedev described Russian-Indian relations as a “time-tested privileged strategic cooperation.”
Friday marked the third talks between Medvedev and Singh this year. They also met during a BRICS summit in China in April and the G20 summit in France’s Cannes early last month.
Medvedev paid an official visit to India in December last year.