In the wake of contemplations over Pakistan attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in India, suspicions are prevailing that New Delhi may create hurdles for Islamabad to send its delegates.
The concerns are part of initial assessments by the Pakistan Foreign Office, whose official sources maintained that while it was considering the invitation extended by India as its capacity as the SCO President for the upcoming meetings of Defence and Foreign Ministers; they were also concerned over the Narendra Modi-led government’s unwillingness to have delegates from Islamabad in attendance.
The all-important SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting is scheduled to be held in Delhi later this month, while the Foreign Ministers’ meeting will take place in Goa in May.
“We have not yet arrived at a final decision. However, there is a feeling that even if Pakistan intends to send its ministers, the Modi government may create a situation where it will become difficult for us to attend the SCO meetings,” said a source with knowledge of the development.
One of the reasons behind Islamabad’s suspicion is also in relation to recent events in which, India virtually withdrew Pakistan’s invitation to an expert-level meeting and objected to the map the Pakistani delegation used during the preparatory meeting.
“The map showed the whole of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory, something that India objected to,” the source said.
Moreover, India has just recently refused to send its cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup and demanded Pakistan change the venue of the tournament to a neutral one.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has strongly protested over India’s refusal to play in Pakistan and has warned that India’s position may affect Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming World Cup being hosted by India.
The PCB has also taken up the matter with the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“All of this reflected that the Indian government was not keen on even reviving sporting ties let alone engaging with Pakistan on regional forums,” the source maintained.