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India invites Pakistan to the SCO meeting of defence ministers.

India has officially invited Pakistan to attend the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers scheduled to be held in Delhi on November 9. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defence said that the invitation was extended to Pakistan “in keeping with the traditions of the SCO”.

The invitation was sent by Secretary, Department of Defence Production, Ajay Kumar, on the behalf of the Indian government. The SCO was established in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and both India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.

The Defence Ministers’ meet is expected to focus on enhancing regional security cooperation, deepening mutual trust and cooperation between member states, and discussing ways to promote international and regional peace, stability and security. In addition, the meeting is likely to discuss ways to facilitate cooperation between the members in various areas, including military-technical cooperation.

The invitation to Pakistan has been seen as a major diplomatic gesture by India as the two countries have been locked in a bitter standoff following the Pulwama terror attack in February. India has also been pushing for Pakistan to be held accountable for its support for terror activities in the region.

The invitation is also seen as a step towards normalising the relationship between the two countries and reviving the stalled dialogue process. With the invitation, India is also sending out a message to the international community that it is committed to dialogue and is open to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.