Moscow, Nov 7: Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has said that India has expressed an intent to join a Central Asian security alliance that would also include Pakistan and Iran.
“India is also intent on joining, and Afghanistan has said it wants to be an observer,” he said.
“We are talking about Pakistan and Iran, which have applied for membership,” Lukashevich added.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao are meeting on Monday to discuss expansion of their loose Central Asian security alliance to include Pakistan and Iran.
Putin will host Wen in his native city of Saint Petersburg almost exactly a decade after both countries joined forces with the four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics to form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Daily Times reports.
Russia had earlier billed the alliance as a regional alternative to NATO and discussed at past meetings the option of including other regional powers in its ranks.
But analysts said China prefers to view the group as primarily an economic organisation and note that Pakistan’s membership has already been under discussion for five years. (ANI)