In a snub to its neighbour, Pakistan will have the lowest level of representation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Government Summit to be hosted virtually by India on November 30.

Traditionally attended by Prime Ministers, Presidents and Foreign Ministers, Pakistan is to be represented by Parliamentary Secretary on Foreign Affairs Ms Andleeb Abbas.

Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will chair the 19th meeting of the summit, as Prime Minister Modi is expected to skip the meeting. Likewise, China on Thursday announced that Premier Li Keqiang will attend the meeting instead of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The previous SCO summit under the chairmanship of Russia in 2019 was attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others.

India assumed chairmanship of the SCO council of heads of governments in November 2019 and this is the is the first time India is hosting the SCO summit.

India and Pakistan became permanent members of the SCO in 2017. The other member nations of the SCO are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Apart from the other SCO member states the heads of a delegation of four observer states (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia) will also participate in the summit.

The summit will discuss the strategies and priorities for trade and economic cooperation for 2021, and overview challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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