India for working jointly with SCO countries

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New Delhi, Aug 28 (UNI) India today stressed the importance of working jointly with the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for addressing the challenges of terrorism, food and energy security, economic development and environmental degradation.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, in his address at the SCO Summit in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), said the SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent, had an important role to play to check the growth of extremism and terrorism in the region, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said here.

India believed that its association with RATS would be mutually beneficial, he said, adding that the SCO has mechanisms in place to address some of the challenges.

''It is in our mutual interest to work together in addressing these challenges jointly,'' Mr Deora said.

The SCO is an inter-governmental organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are observers.

Pointing out that India had been associated with the SCO as an Observer since 2005, the Minister said India had stated clearly its interest in engaging with the SCO activities more actively and constructively.

India would welcome early steps by the SCO towards evolving ways and means of involving Observers more closely and providing them a more clearly defined and substantive role in the Organisation.

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