Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to snub India’s invitation to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) summit scheduled to be hosted by India in New Delhi later this year.
Khan is instead likely to send a representative of his government to the SCO meet in India, said reports. Instead of attending the summit himself, the Pakistani prime minister is likely to send a junior minister given deteriorating relations between New Delhi and Islamabad since Balakot airstrike last year.
“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 source told IANS.
Earlier in the day, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that an invitation will be extended to all eight members of the economic and security bloc which was founded by China in 2001. Both India and Pakistan were made members just three years ago.
The eight-member states that comprise SCO are – India, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus, and Mongolia hold observer status in the grouping.
“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,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
“The meeting is held annually at the prime minister’s level and it discusses the SCO’s programme and multilateral economic and trade cooperation,” Kumar added.
In SCO summit 2018 hosted by Kyrgyzstan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced Pakistan in an indirect reference for sponsoring, aiding and supporting terrorism. Modi had also sought international cooperation in the war against terror.
By: Times Now News