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Putin Says India, Pakistan Could Join SCO In 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held out the possibility that India and Pakistan could join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2017.

Speaking at the SCO summit in Tashkent on June 24, Putin said New Delhi and Islamabad "must meet all the obligations to receive the status of member states."

The Russian president said he hopes the two countries will move toward full membership by the SCO's next summit in Kazakhstan in June 2017.

Putin also said there are no longer obstacles that would prevent Iran from joining the group.

He said Iran's accession would be possible "after Iran's nuclear problem was solved and the UN sanctions are lifted."

SCO leaders have been meeting in Tashkent since June 23 for talks that include regional security and the current situation in Afghanistan.

The current members of the SCO are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan currently have observer status in the group.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax