India To Invite Pakistan PM Imran Khan For Regional SCO Summit In New Delhi
By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 16, Jan 2020, 19:42 pm IST | UPDATED: 17, Jan 2020, 13:51 pm IST
Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited to India by the government to attend the annual meeting of the council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the government said on Thursday. The meeting will be held in the national capital later this year and a formal invite to all the members will be sent soon.Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, while speaking to reporters said: "As per the established practice and procedure within SCO all 8 members of SCO, as well as 4 observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited to attend the meeting."
When asked whether Khan will be invited to the meeting he said that all eight countries and four observers will be invited.
The eight member states of SCO are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. The four observers are Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia. This is for the first time that India is hosting the meeting of the council of heads of government of the SCO.The SCO is a China-led eight-member economic and security bloc to which India and Pakistan were admitted in 2017. The body was founded in 2001 by Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan."Received Secretary General #ShanghaiCooperation Organization Vladimir Norov. Reviewed the progress in our cooperation as India prepares to take up the responsibility of chairing the Council of #SCO Heads of Government," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had tweeted earlier.Usually, the heads of government meeting of the SCO is represented by foreign ministers while a number of countries send their prime ministers also. India has always been represented by the external affairs minister in the heads of government meeting while the SCO heads of state summit is attended by the prime minister.Pakistan is a member of the SCO and it will be interesting to see who represents the country in the meeting in India."All member countries are very glad that India is hosting the SCO heads of government meeting later this year. India is an important country in the region and has huge potential for fuelling economic growth in the region," SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov had said earlier this week.PM Modi and Imran Khan had attended the SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek last year in June. During his speech in the summit, PM Modi issued a stern message to Pakistan and said countries sponsoring, aiding and supporting terrorism must be held accountable.