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Milind M Chandurkar Asked: Why being a CAR, Turkmenistan is not a member of SCO yet?

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  • Meena Singh Roy replies: Since its independence, Turkmenistan has adhered to the principles of ‘positive neutrality’ in its foreign policy. On October 22, 1995, Turkmenistan for the first time conveyed to the UN its decision to adhere to a policy of neutrality in its foreign affairs. Subsequently, the 185 member-states of the UN unanimously adopted a special resolution of the General Assembly on the ‘permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.’ The basis of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy was defined by its former President Saparmurat Niyazov in the following words:

    “The positive permanent neutrality, non-interference into internal affairs of other states, non-alignment with any military blocks and groupings and other international obligations envisaged in the country’s Constitution are the basis of Turkmenistan’s relations with all world states."

    Due to its policy of 'positive neutrality', Turkmenistan did not join the SCO. However, its head of state has several times participated as a special guest in the SCO summit meetings.

    One could also look at my article on “Strategic Importance of Turkmenistan for India”, Strategic Analysis, 35 (4), July 2011, pp. 661–682