India invites Chinese and Pakistani FMs to SCO meeting later in May
Despite tense relations, India extends invitation to Pakistan and China to attend the 2023 SCO summit in Gao.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be meeting on May 4 and 5 in Goa, India. As such the Indian government has extended all members of the organization with invitations including China and Pakistan despite tense ties.
The Hindustan Times cited a source noting that "So far there is no confirmation from the Pakistani side whether foreign minister Bilawal [Bhutto] will attend the meeting or not."
During the 2022 SCO summit in Samarkand, the SCO member nations have agreed that the organization is not intended against other governments or international organizations, according to a declaration issued.
"Member states reaffirm that the SCO is not directed against other states and international organizations and is open to broad cooperation with them in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the SCO Charter, and international law, based on consideration of mutual interests and commonality of approaches to solving regional and global problems," the document read.
It is worth noting that amongst the main topics of discussion anticipated in the 2023 SCO summit is the agreed-upon need to develop a single list of terrorist, separatist, and extremist organizations that can be adopted by all members of the organization.
Recently, amid tensions with Pakistan and China, India approved the purchase of 120 Pralay missiles for deployment along shared borders with its neighbors. Experts believe the purchase is in response to domestic opposition blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being "weak" on China.
'India vulnerable; China, Pakistan together': Gandhi warns
Earlier, in late December of 2022, Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that China and Pakistan were working together to prepare a "surprise" for India.
Gandhi stated that if there is ever a war, it will be against both Pakistan and China. Gandhi's YouTube channel posted the video also in December 2022.
"India's border situation is linked with the international situation and the border situation is changing... We used to have two enemies - China and Pakistan, and our policy was to keep them separate," Gandhi said adding that this was the idea behind New Delhi's foreign policy.
“When Rajiv Gandhi went there, he also tried that these two (Pakistan and China) do not get together. Earlier, people used to say there should be no two-front war. Then came the concept of a two-and-a-half-front war -- China, Pakistan and terrorism,” he said.
He suggested that there is only one front because "China and Pakistan are together not only militarily but economically as well,” adding the examples of Gwadar and the Belt and Road Initiative.
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