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Asian bloc's expansion may widen cracks between China, Russia

Accession of India, Pakistan to SCO adds new wrinkle to group's politics

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, left, officially welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday before a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.   © Reuters

ASTANA -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is set to accept India and Pakistan as full members, a move intended to enhance its influence as an alternative to the West. But with core members China and Russia already on different pages, this growth could magnify divisions within the bloc.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other SCO leaders gathered here in the capital of Kazakhstan for a two-day summit that began Thursday, with the addition of India and Pakistan expected to be approved Friday. The countries will be the first to join as full members since the organization's formation in 2001. The group currently consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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