New Delhi: India is likely to invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to the annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), that will host a council of heads of governments around the world, reports suggested on Tuesday.
Notably, India is hosting the annual meeting of SCO, world’s largest multinational defence alliance, for the first time at the end of this year.
India has extended the invitation as per protocol and convention, however, the final decision rests upon Islamabad whether the PM will attend the meet later this year.
“According to protocol and convention, an invitation will be extended to the Pakistani Prime Minister. It is up to Pakistan whether their Prime Minister or some other representative attend the summit. Besides, there is still a long time before the meeting,” an official familiar with the invitation told the Hindustan Times.
Hostilities between India and Pakistan grew after last year’s Pulwama attack and its subsequent Balakot airstrike. Tensions further escalated after the Centre in August decided to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, dissolving Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
SCO’s Secretary-General Vladamir Norov, who arrived in New Delhi on a four-day visit, held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and announced the all the members of the grouping are satisfied with India hosting the event this year. He added that India has huge potential for fuelling economic growth in the region.
The SCO was founded at a Shanghai summit in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Both India and Pakistan became full members of the multinational alliance in June 2017.