Putin hopes for expansion of Shanghai Cooperation Organization to counter West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed what he sees as the need to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a counterbalance to the West. The SCO is a regional framework led by China and Russia.

Putin attended an SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among those in attendance.

This edition of the summit was an in-person affair for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Putin pointed out that the SCO is the largest regional framework in the world and claimed its role has grown in the effort to resolve international issues.

Xi vowed to work actively to promote the development of the SCO and safeguard Asia, the European Continent and the world, while ensuring peace and prosperity.

Iran signed a memorandum signaling an intention of joining the organization as a full-fledged member. Meanwhile, Belarus is applying to be granted full-member status.

The total population of the body's member states exceeds 3 billion, or nearly half the world's population. Russia and China apparently aim to enhance its presence as a non-Western framework.