India to invite Pakistan PM Imran Khan for SCO summit in New Delhi

India to invite Pakistan PM Imran Khan for SCO summit in New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.

In a significant departure from its stated position that "talks and terror cannot go together", India on Thursday said that New Delhi will invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held in the national capital later this year.

"All 8 countries and 4 observers will be invited," said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokersperson Raveesh Kumar when asked whether Imran Khan will be invited to SCO heads of govt meeting in India.

Formerly the Sanghai Five and formed in 1996, the SCO has eight members today including India and Pakistan, which became part of it in 2017. The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included.

India also launched a stinging attack at Pakistan, a day after Islamabad's all-weather ally' China raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Explained | What SCO summit means for India’s global and regional interests

"Attempt was made by Pakistan, through a UNSC member (China), to misuse the platform. Overwhelming majority of UNSC was of view that UNSC was not the right forum for such issues and it should be discussed bilaterally," Kumar said while addressing a press conference.

The MEA added that Pakistan has a choice to "avoid such global embarrassment by refraining from such acts in future".

The move by China was third such attempt since August when the special status granted to J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories. However, members of the UNSC, including France and the US, blocked the attempt by China for a discussion on the Kashmir issue.

"The informal closed-door meeting concluded without any outcome. Pakistan's desperate measures to peddle baseless allegations and present an alarming scenario lacked any credibility," Kumar said.

Giving out a stern message, Kumar said, "We hope the message has gone loud and clear to Pak that if at all there's any matter between India and Pak that needs to be discussed, it should be done bilaterally".

Speaking about China's intervention in the matter, Kumar said, "In our view, China should seriously reflect on this global consensus, draw the proper lessons and refrain from taking such action in the future".