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Leaders face multiple challenges in central Asia

Reporter: Julia Lyubova 丨 CCTV.com

07-11-2015 10:22 BJT

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Leaders of the SCO have agreed to jointly address common challenges and safeguard comprehensive security, according to a press communique released after the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the southwestern Russian city of Ufa. They have also agreed to start procedures to allow India and Pakistan to become full members of the group.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa focused on the topic of security across a vast region with a number of potential challenges. Among them, the threat of radical Islam, terrorism and drug trafficking in central Asia. The leaders pledged closer cooperation to overcome collective problems.

Xi said:"We need to move faster and take more concrete actions to realise more progress of the organisation at the new departure point. First, we should follow the Shanghai spirit to build a community of common destiny. We should continue to observe the Shanghai spirit and other principles governing international relations championed by the SCO: uphold international equity and adjusters, promote multilateralism and openness, respect each other's interests, refrain from interfering in other countries' internal affairs, settle disputes by peaceful means and seek common development and prosperity with a win-win approach. We should carry forward the Shanghai spirit in the region and make it an inspirational bond bringing member states together in our endeavour to build a community of common destiny and promote harmony in our region."

At the summit, India and Pakistan were invited to join the SCO as full members, after years of holding observer status.

"We have decided to launch the process of full accession of India and Pakistan. We know the uneasy relationship between these two countries. We hope that the SCO platform will become an additional forum to find a compromise and solutions," said Vladimir Putin, Russian President.

This is the first time the SCO is expanding since it was founded in 2001. It was originally designed to promote peace and stability across the region. But over the years it has become a forum for cooperation on political, economic, and military matters. 

Having held talks on the sidelines of the SCO summit here in Ufa, India's Prime Minister agreed to visit Pakistan next year for the first time. This could pave the way for a warming of relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought multiple times in recent decades.

It is also hoped that India's inclusion will stave off some of the criticism of the organization as a grouping of states with little affection for a Western world order. However, it could take some time before the invitees become full-fledged members of this club.

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