BEIJING: China said Pakistan and India would become full members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) by next week.

India and Pakistan are slated to become members of the SCO, a regional security bloc led by Beijing, at the group’s summit in Astana in Kazakhstan. This is the first time since its launch in 2001 it will expand its membership.

A flag-raising ceremony is scheduled to take place at the SCO headquarters in Beijing on June 15 to mark the new admissions.

The group’s current members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Until now, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan were observers while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka were dialogue partners.

“Hope India and Pakistan strictly follow the charter of the SCO and the idea of good neighbourliness, uphold the SCO spirit, improve their relations and inject new impetus to the development of the SCO,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said on Thursday at the regular ministry briefing.