India invites Khawaja Asif for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting
India has invited Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif to attend the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be held in New Delhi in April, according to a media report on Wednesday.
India currently holds the presidency of the SCO, which comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. As President of the SCO, India is set to host a series of meetings.
Diplomatic sources told that the Indian government shared the formal invitation with the Pakistan Foreign Office on Tuesday.
The foreign ministers’ meeting is scheduled for May in Goa while the defence ministers’ huddle will be held in New Delhi in April.
The Pakistani government has said that it has not yet taken a decision on whether Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or Defence Minister Asif will attend the meetings in India.
Bilawal and China’s Qin Gang are among the foreign ministers of the SCO member nations invited by India for the meeting it is scheduled to host in May.
The Pakistan Foreign Office has said that the decision will be taken at an appropriate time.
If the Pakistani foreign minister attends the meeting in person, it will be the first such visit from Islamabad to India since 2011. Then Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited India that year. Khar is currently serving as the minister of state for foreign affairs.