Khurshid arrives in Kyrgyzstan to attend SCO meet - The New Indian Express

Khurshid arrives in Kyrgyzstan to attend SCO meet

Published: 12th September 2013 04:24 PM

Last Updated: 12th September 2013 04:24 PM

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid arrived here today to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit?on the sidelines of which he will have informal discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

During his two-day visit, he will hold a series of meetings with world leaders including Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev and Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev.

Joint Secretary (ERS) Ajay Bisaria told reporters accompanying Khurshid that a lot will happen on the margins of the SCO summit.

"There may a discussion on Syria and Afghanistan," he said.

During the Khurshid-Aziz talks, the two leaders will try to schedule a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.

India will also seek a broader and larger role in the grouping given the evolving security situation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and energy cooperation.

"Though there has not been a final decision, SCO members are working on the modalities to see how they will approach the entire issue of its expansion and membership," Bisaria said.

India has been an Observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally been participating at the ministerial-level at these summits.

The SCO focuses on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian space.

The precursor of the SCO was the 'Shanghai Five' constituted in 1996 by China to address border security issues with four of its neighbours.

In its present form, the SCO was founded at the Summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, People?s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

At the 2005 Astana Summit, India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as Observers.

The Tashkent SCO Summit in June 2010 lifted the moratorium on new membership and paved the way for expansion of this regional grouping.

From here, Khurshid will go to Uzbekistan, where he will hold bilateral discussions with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and also chair a conference of Indian Heads of Missions in the region.

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