New Delhi: After India made it clear that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in New Delhi later this year, news reports surfaced that the Pakistan PM is likely to send a member of his government in his place to the meeting.

Holding a press conference, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated that Indian will invite all the eight members and four observer states of the SCO for the meeting.

“India will be hosting the heads of government summit later this year. As per established practice and procedure, all eight members and four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

An economic and security bloc with China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the SCO has India and Pakistan as its members. Headed by China, the SCO was founded in 2001. India and Pakistan became members just three years ago.

Top sources in Islamabad told news agency IANS that Imran Khan is likely to send a junior minister in his place. “Given the deterioration in India-Pakistan relationship since the airstrikes at Balakot terror camp in Pakistan, Prime Minister Khan will find it very hard to justify his visit to India. He will skip the SCO meeting. Most likely, he will send his foreign minister,” a top source told IANS.