Russia backs India for SCO member

November 17th, 2011 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Moscow/New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow next month, Russia Thursday backed India’s bid to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) after the foreign ministers of the two countries held wide-ranging talks.

“Russia supports the resolution of the issue of India’s transfer from observer status to full membership in the SCO as soon as possible,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna in Moscow.

“We have expounded on this position repeatedly and expect to achieve progress in the issue soon,” said Lavrov.

The six-nation SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan enjoy observer status at the SCO.

India is keen to become a member of the SCO, but the move is being opposed by China as it sees the region as its extended sphere of influence.

Krishna arrived in Moscow in Thursday on a three-day visit to co-chair the 17th session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

The talks between the two foreign ministers will also help the firm up the agenda for Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow, expected Dec 16, for annual summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

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