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15 Jan, 2020 03:01

India to invite Pakistan’s Khan for autumn SCO meeting in New Delhi – report

India to invite Pakistan’s Khan for autumn SCO meeting in New Delhi – report

India is reportedly poised to invite Pakistani PM Imran Khan to the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit – hosted in New Delhi this year – where the bloc’s leaders will sit down for a rare face-to-face encounter.

The SCO, the world’s largest multinational defense alliance, will convene for its yearly Heads of Government meeting in the Indian capital later this year, the first such gathering hosted by India, a relative newcomer to the organization. Despite ongoing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, however, New Delhi looks forward to welcoming Khan, and the ball is apparently now in Islamabad’s court, at least according to Indian officials cited by the Hindustan Times.

“According to protocol and convention, an invitation will be extended to the Pakistani prime minister,” an official familiar with the invitation procedure told the outlet.

It is up to Pakistan whether their prime minister or some other representative attends the meeting.

Hostilities have soared between India and Pakistan over the last year, with the countries nearly going to war in February after a border skirmish erupted in the disputed Kashmir territory, where Islamabad also maintains territorial claims. After a brief lull, tensions spiked again last summer over New Delhi’s decision to rescind Kashmir’s autonomy status, arguing it was necessary to develop the region and combat corruption.

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After receiving observer status in 2005, both India and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Pact as full members in the summer of 2017, at a summit held in Astana. The SCO itself has its origins in a 2001 meeting in Shanghai, where the presidents of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan codified the organization.

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