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Welcoming India, Pakistan Aboard, China Says No Bilateral Issues at Shanghai Group

Welcoming India and Pakistan into the SCO, China categorically ruled out any bilateral issues cropping up at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a stand that India avowedly upheld in all multilateral forums.

“As a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), we are very happy about the membership of India and Pakistan,” China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said at a ceremony at the SCO headquarters held to formally admit the two nations as new members of the grouping.

China is a dominant member and host of the 8-member organisation, which includes China, Russia and Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan besides India and Pakistan. Currently, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are the observers and may soon join as members.

Kong, who attended the ceremony, tried to ally apprehensions aired by media reports on the possibility of bilateral rivalry weakening the organisation the way it has done to saarc. “In the charter of the SCO there is a clause that the hostility between the bilateral relations should not be brought to the organisation. I believe both the countries will abide by the charter of the organisation,” he said.

“Between our member states our interests far outweigh our differences. So, we should not exaggerate the differences between the countries as it is not good for the organisation and cooperation between member states. After becoming members, we all become members of the big family,” he said.

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