Pakistan: India invites Pakistan for SCO meet of home, def ministers, NSAs | India News


NEW DELHI: India has invited Pakistan for a meeting of home ministers and also defence ministers and NSAs in the run-up to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit likely to take place in the first week of July.
The government will soon also send an invite to Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif for the SCO summit which will likely be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. The invites, as official sources said, are only in keeping with the S CO Charter and have nothing to do with the bilateral ties that re main in a limbo.
However, the upcoming slew of engagements under SCO, which is currently steered by India, may provide an opportunity to both countries to find a way out of the logjam in the relationship in the form of possible bilateral meetings on the sidelines, although there is no such formal proposal yet.
India and Pakistan launched the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process in December 2015 but that was derailed by the Pathankot airbase terror attack. Ties were further ravaged by the 2006 Uri attack. Pakistan also recalled its high commi ssioner after India revoked the special status of J&K in 2019.
While the terror strikes put paid to the Saarc summit process, India has sought to ring-fence its SCO commitments from the vagaries of the bilateral relationship in a sign of the importance it attaches to the organisation. India continues to maintain that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism but the government has not just invited Pakistan for counter-terrorism exercises, but has also sent delegations to participate in similar exercises in Pakistan under SCO.
There ’s no proposal for a bilateral meeting with any visiting Pakistan leader on the sidelines, official sources said. What happens eventually will also depend on how Pakistan responds to the invites sent out by India, and indeed to all other member-states of the security-oriented Eurasian group which is working to ensure a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous Afghanistan, free from terrorism and extremism.
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto has so far not confirmed his participation in the meeting of SCO foreign ministers that will take place in Goa in May. There’s speculation though that Islamabad may send junior minister Hina Rabbani Khar for the meeting. Pakistan participated only virtually in the SCO chief justices meet this week.


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