Thursday Jan 16, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Indian External Affairs Ministry confirmed Thursday Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India, a member of the organisation, will be hosting the event when it takes place later this year.
Speaking to media, External Affairs Minister Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said all right SCO members, four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited to the event as per the established practice and procedure of the SCO.
“The meeting is held annually at the prime minister's level and it discusses the SCO's program and multilateral economic and trade co-operation,” he said. "All eight members of the SCO, as well as four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited."
Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the founding members of the SCO. The association has become a significant group of countries with emerging economies. India will host the event during the second half of 2020.
India and Pakistan both became members of the organisation in 2017. This is the first time New Delhi will host the event.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have been on the rise since the past couple of years. In February 2019, both countries were on the brink of war after Pakistan downed two Indian Air Force fighter jets and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Tensions simmered down after Pakistan released the Indian pilot after holding him captive for two days.
On August 5, 2019, India revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, a move that sparked anger in Pakistan. Islamabad cut off trade and suspended diplomatic relations with India. PM Imran has frequently compared Modi to Hitler and referred to his BJP-led government as a “fascist” one.
Pakistan has warned the international community past couple of months that India is planning a false flag operation. PM Imran has accused Modi of introducing discriminatory policies against its Muslim and warned India from any misadventure in Azad Kashmir to divert attention from the country’s internal turmoil.
During last year's SCO summit in Bishkek, PM Imran and Modi met on the sidelines of the meeting and exchanged pleasantries, Foreign Minister Qureshi had confirmed.
Qureshi had said the two prime ministers had shook hands and discussed bilateral issues between the two countries. The meeting was held a few months after Pakistan and India nearly went to war in February in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
In the last summit, member states had urged the international community to strengthen global cooperation in efforts against terrorism under the UN's central role by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.