Pakistan's PM Gilani
Pakistan's PM Gilani Reuters

Russia has officially supported Pakistan’s bid to gain full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Founded by China in 2011, SCO is an intergovernmental security organization that also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as members.

During a meeting of the SCO in St, Petersburg, Russia, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin following an address made at a conference by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Putin also endorsed Gilani’s proposals for enacting various trade and energy projects between the two countries. Among other things, Russia will finance – to the tune of $500-million—the CASA-1000 project which will provide power transmission from Turkmenistan Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Putin and Gilani also reportedly discussed other important topics, including battling against terrorism and extremism.

“Pakistan is important for us in trade and economy and it is an important partner in South Asia and in Islamic world,” Putin told Gilani.

The Russian Premier also offered to help expand and upgrade various power plants in Pakistan.

Earlier at the SCO meeting, Gilani met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss strengthening bilateral economic, defense and energy ties between Islamabad and Beijing.

In addition, Gilani lobbied for more investment in Pakistan by Chinese corporations.

In May, Gilani told Chinese media that he wanted bilateral trade between the two countries to reach $15 billion within two years (up from $9 billion at present).

According to China’s Commerce Ministry, at the of 2010, Chinese companies signed contracts with Pakistan worth a total of $19.9 billion; China's direct investment in Pakistan reached $1.36 billion dollars.

Pakistan and China have enjoyed diplomatic relations for 60 years and regard each other as crucial partners to defend against their common enemy, India, in Asian affairs.