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SCO starts expansion, ratifies 10-year development strategy
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Friday ratified a resolution on starting its expansion procedures and passed a comprehensive blueprint for the bloc's development in the next decade.
The leaders of the SCO states ratified the resolution on starting the procedures of granting India and Pakistan full membership of the organization, according to a declaration issued after the 15th SCO summit held in Ufa, capital of Russia's Bashkortostan Republic.
The SCO also elevated Belarus to the status of observer from dialogue partner, and took in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal as new dialogue partners, read the document.
Meanwhile, the leaders approved the SCO Development Strategy until 2025, which set targets and tasks for the organization's development in the upcoming 10 years.
The strategy maps out goals for the SCO member states to conduct cooperation in the areas including politics, security, trade and economy, people-to-people exchanges in the next decade.
When delivering a speech at the SCO summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China believes that the admission of new forces into the SCO will inject new impetus into the organization's all-ranging cooperation.
He said that the SCO should continue to expand external exchanges with other regional and international organizations, and improve the dialogue and cooperation mechanism with its observers and dialogue partners.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke highly of the expansion, saying that it is the first time in the SCO's history to process the accession of new members.
At the Dushanbe summit held in 2014, leaders of the SCO members ratified two documents that define the basic principles of membership enlargement, paving the way for aspirant countries to join the bloc.
Analysts said that with its expansion, the SCO will provide a platform for broader economic and security cooperation within the Eurasian region.
Both India and Pakistan are challenged by terrorism, separatism and extremism. Their entry into the SCO will be a positive step for the two countries to improve domestic security situation, as the rich experience accumulated by the bloc will help them tackle the "three evil forces," said Chen Yurong, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.
Currently, both India and Pakistan are observers of the SCO. Pakistan applied for a full membership in 2006 and India in 2014.
[Source: Xinhua, Ufa, Rus, 10Jul15]
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