External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will go to Tashkent next week to attend the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit amid speculation that India could be inducted as a full-fledged member of the regional grouping.
Krishna will represent India at the June 10-11 SCO summit to be held in Tashkent.
The summit is likely to clear the rules and procedures for expanding the membership of the regional grouping that comprises Russia, China and the energy-rich Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
The foreign ministers of SCO countries met last week and finalized procedures for admitting new members.
India, along with Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia, currently have observer status at the SCO.
In the past few months, India has shown an interest in joining the SCO that has emerged as an important regional security organization with networks of energy supplies.
Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participated in the SCO summit at Yekaterinburg in Russia as an observer, the first time India was represented at this level at the regional summit.
As counter-terrorism is an important focus of the SCO, India feels that its fuller participation in the SCO would enable it to counter the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan by cooperating closely with other like-minded countries in the region.
The SCO has set up a Regional Counter Terrorism Centre in Tashkent. India is keen that Afghanistan also joins the SCO.