New Delhi: New Delhi on Thursday confirmed it would invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of Governmment meeting that will be hosted by India later this year, possibly in October or November.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an eight-member Central Asian Grouping that comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. India and Pakistan became SCO members in 2017. “India will be hosting the SCO Council of Heads of Government meeting later this year. The meeting is held annually at the Prime Minister’s level and it discusses the SCO’s programme of multilateral economic cooperation as per the established practice and procedure within the SCO. All eight members of SCO as well as four observers states and other international dialogue partners will be invited,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.
But there is speculation that the Pakistan PM may choose to send a senior minister instead if he is not keen on attending the meeting in view of the dismal state of Indo-Pakistan ties.
Sources said it was too early to say whether the Pakistan PM would attend or not, given that there was still about nine months to go for the SCO meeting in a situation wherein even a week is a long time in Indo-Pak ties.
New Delhi has always maintained it will continue to stand by its multilateral commitments. Ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours has been deteriorating since 2016.