India will invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the 19th council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which will be hosted by India later this year.
Sources have said that as per protocol all heads of government would be invited for the event. As per practice, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan and presidents of Russia, China and other countries attend the ‘Heads of State’ meeting.
This would be the first high-level meeting of the SCO that would be organised here since India’s admission to the eight-member grouping. India would be writing the letter of invitation addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan since he is the head of government.
SCO General Secretary, on a visit to New Delhi on Monday, said, “The SCO Heads of Government meeting will be held in India in the second half of autumn. All member-states were very happy with the decision. There is huge potential and India can play a very positive role.”
The economic and security bloc which initially comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, included India and Pakistan in 2017. India took over the presidency of the ‘heads of government’ meeting last year and it was announced in the 18th meeting of the SCO’s Council of heads of government held in Tashkent in 2019.
Since the meeting is going to be held in India and it is the first big event that India will be hosting, we will have to wait and see if Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will play host.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will have to decide whether its participation will be at Prime Minister-level or someone else will represent the government.
The SCO, which has its headquarters in Beijing, holds summits of heads of states as well as heads of government meetings annually in member countries.