Islamabad- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Secretary General Zhang Ming is visiting Pakistan on Friday for three days and will invite Pak Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to participate in the SCO annual summit to be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 15-16, The News reported.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the summit, which will provide an opportunity to the prime ministers of Pakistan and India to come face-to-face. It is for the first time in six years that the two prime ministers will be present under one roof and avail an opportunity to see each other, The News reported.
Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here on Thursday that a chance meeting between Shehbaz and Modi couldn’t be ruled out since both would be in the same compound for two days. “No structured meeting of the two has been tied up since India hasn’t requested the same yet. In case such a request is made, Pakistan’s response will be positive,” the sources said.
China, Pakistan, Russia, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are full members of the group. The group’s new chair has already outlined its priorities and tasks. These include efforts to raise the potential and authority of the organisation, ensure peace and stability in the region, reduce poverty and ensure food security.
Putting together a plan for the development of intra-regional trade, which will include measures to eliminate trade barriers, align technical regulations and digitalise customs procedures, will also be on the table for discussions.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after militants attacked the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relationship deteriorated further after India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.
India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. It also snapped all air and land links with India and suspended trade and railway services. (IANS)
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