India and Pakistan are likely to be inducted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) while Iran may miss the bus as the country is already under UN sanctions for its nuclear programmes.
"The country aspiring to join SCO should not be under the UN Security Council sanctions," a Russian diplomatic source was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.
At their meeting in Tashkent yesterday the foreign ministers of the SCO, a regional security grouping, have approved draft procedures and criteria for the admission of new members to the regional grouping, which would be finalised at the SCO summit next month in Tashkent under the rotating presidency of Uzbekistan.
The Russia-China led SCO has closed its doors for Iran as it is under UN sanctions, ahead of its expansion to include India and Pakistan in the regional grouping.
"The document sets out the start of the process of forming a legal base for the expansion of the organisation," Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov announced in Tashkent.
Iran has been pushing hard to seek full membership of the organisation and in spite of a wave of opposition protests in Tehran over presidential poll outcome, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had flown to Yekaterinburg to attend the SCO summit, also attended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Iran is facing fresh bout of UN sanctions for its nuclear programme. Despite an initiative by Turkey and Brazil under which Iran has agreed to ship much of its low enriched uranium abroad in a nuclear fuel swap deal but the US said moves for toughened sanctions would still go ahead.
Currently India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia have an observer status in the SCO. Earlier at several occasions India and Pakistan have also voiced their willingness to join SCO, when it would adopt criteria and procedures for admission of new members of the grouping, which has began to play a significant role in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border organised crime.
"The procedure of admitting new members is of great importance for the SCO future. The adoption of this document at the Tashkent summit on June 10-11 will give an impulse to the formation of a mechanism of the organisation's expansion," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko underscored.
He said it is a unique floor for dialogue between the great Chinese, Indian, Russian and Central Asian civilisations and cultures which meet in the vast region.