India will be inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan along with other global leaders for the annual meeting of council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the later part of this year according to officials.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said all eight member countries, four observers and dialogue partners of the grouping will be invited for the meeting.
“The meeting is held annually at the prime minister’s level and it discusses the SCO’s programme and multilateral economic and trade cooperation,” he said at a media briefing.
“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,” Kumar said when asked whether Pakistan Prime Minister Khan will be sent an invitation to the meeting.
When asked specifically whether Khan will be invited, another official said, “yes”.
This will be 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.
This invitation from India to the Pakistani President becomes important as the relations between the two countries has not been smooth in the past few months because of bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir.
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 also.
India uptil now 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.