Amid tensions between India and Pakistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is unlikely to attend the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State meet scheduled to be held in India around the year-end.
India Today, citing a highly placed source in the Pakistan government, confirmed the development, saying Khan could skip the meet but might send a ministerial-level delegation. However, India is yet to send formal invitations to all eight member nations, including Pakistan.
Though foreign minister or senior Cabinet ministers attend the 'Heads of State' meet, as per practice India and Pakistan PMs also take part as Russian President (Vladimir Putin), Chinese President (Xi Jinping) and other important dignitaries attend it.
The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, which was formed on June 15, 2001. The SCO comprises eight member states -- India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Its main goals are strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states and promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan foreign ministry sources told India Today that Imran Khan would first discuss the matter with his Cabinet members after he returns from the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. Both Modi and Imran were last seen together during the SCO Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June, 2019. They will again face each other the SCO summit level meeting for 2020 in St Petersburg, Russia.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a special address at the WEF 2020, said on Wednesday that the world will realise the true strategic economic potential of his country when the relationship with India becomes normal, but that has "unfortunately" not been great. He also said his vision is to make Pakistan a welfare state and asserted that economic growth is not possible without peace and stability.
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