NEW DELHI, May 19 (UPI) -- New Delhi said during meetings with Uzbek officials it could join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member in order to advance energy security.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed Uzbek President Islam Karimov to New Delhi for bilateral trade negotiations. Both sides signed more than 30 deals involving economic issues, Indian newspaper The Hindu reports.
India is busy lobbying its Asian partners for better access to natural gas. New Delhi could play a role in multilateral natural gas pipelines from Turkmenistan or Iran. Uzbekistan, meanwhile, could hold as much as 2.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in its Karakalpakistan field.
One official told the India newspaper much of Central Asia remains unexplored.
Karimov during the talks offered to share shale gas technology to New Delhi as part of the bilateral trade deals. Singh added he was keen to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member in order to help allay energy security issues. Uzbekistan is a full member while India enjoys observer status.