New Delhi: India has extended an invitation to Pakistan to attend meetings of defence ministers, interior ministers and national security advisors of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
As the current chair of the eight-nation SCO, India has been sending invitations to all members for the different meetings held.
Previously, Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto had been invited to the SCO ministerial meeting in May in Goa. Pakistan prime minister Shahbaz Sharif will also be invited for the SCO leaders’ summit in September in the Indian capital.
The Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Indian government invited defence minister Khawaja Asif to the SCO defence ministers meeting in New Delhi in April.
Sources added that similar invitations were also extended to Islamabad for the meetings of interior ministers and national security advisors.
Relations between India and Pakistan continue to be strained, with diplomatic ties downgraded for over four years.
In the various meetings held so far, Pakistan has attended the virtual ones. However, for the physical meets in India, it has usually sent a lower-ranked official.
Until now, Pakistan’s finance minister has attended the meeting of SCO finance ministers only in the virtual mode. Pakistan chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial was also invited, but he was represented by Justice Muneeb Akhtar through a video link.
On March 14, Pakistan energy minister Khurram Dastgir Khan took part in a virtual meeting of SCO ministers of energy.
Minister for Energy, Khurram Dastgir Khan, today virtually participated in the 3rd SCO Ministers of Energy meeting hosted by India today. He expressed 🇵🇰's desire to cooperate closely with SCO states in energy sector esp in clean & renewable energy. pic.twitter.com/rK3QRvwKBG
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) March 14, 2023
On the same day, the advisor to Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board, Imran Shaukat, took part in a two-day international conference on Shared Buddhist heritage of SCO members in Delhi.
Pakistan high commission’s charge d’Affaires, Salman Sharif represented the country at the meeting of SCO heads of ministries and departments for sports on Wednesday.