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Pakistan, India Join Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Leaders pose for a photo during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana on June 9.

ASTANA -- Pakistan and India have become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), expanding the regional security grouping into South Asia.

The presidents of the SCO member-states -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- signed a document granting Pakistan and India membership at a summit on June 9.

The presidents signed several other documents at the meeting in the Kazakh capital, Astana, including a convention on joint efforts against extremism.

Talks between the leaders of the six original members were to be followed by a broader meeting including India, Pakistan, and observer states Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia.

Regional giants Russia and China have similar positions on major global issues but are vying for influence in energy-rich Central Asia.