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India to Invite Pakistan PM Imran Khan for SCO Meeting in Delhi Later This Year, Say Sources

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, when asked whether Khan will be invited to the meeting, said, "All eight countries and four observers will be invited."

News18.com

Updated:January 16, 2020, 8:01 PM IST
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India to Invite Pakistan PM Imran Khan for SCO Meeting in Delhi Later This Year, Say Sources
File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SC0) meeting that will be held in New Delhi later this year, said sources. A formal invite will be soon issued, they added.

"The meeting is held annually at the prime minister's level and it discusses the SCO's programme and multilateral economic and trade cooperation," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a media briefing here on Thursday.

"As per the established practice and procedure within SCO, all eight members of SCO, as well as four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited to attend the meeting," Kumar said when asked whether Khan will be sent an invitation to the meeting.

The eight member states are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. The four observers are Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia.

When asked specifically whether Khan will be invited, another official said, "Yes."

For the first time, India will host the annual meeting of the council of heads of government of the SCO, the bloc's Secretary General Vladimir Norov said on Monday.

The government's announcement on inviting Pakistan to the mega event came in the midst of frayed ties between the two countries over India's withdrawal of special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.

India and Pakistan became full members of the China-dominated grouping in 2017.

Usually, the heads of government meeting of the SCO are represented by foreign ministers while a number of countries send their prime ministers as well.

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.

Kumar said the event will be preceded by a number of meetings in India, including one of the SCO ministers of economic activities.

India was an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

(With inputs from PTI)

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