India, Pakistan to join expanding security organization led by Russia and China

Russian President Vladimir Putin says India and Pakistan will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a group dominated by Russia and China and also including former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Russia sees the organization as a counterweight to Western alliances.

Membership in the group potentially offers India greater access to the energy resources of Central Asia. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has combined his attendance at the summit in Russia with visits to SCO members Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Putin opened the annual summit on Friday by announcing the acceptance of India and Pakistan as members. He said Belarus would obtain observer status, joining Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia.

The Russian president called for greater cooperation in fighting drug trafficking from Afghanistan and the financing of terrorism.