A reception held by the SCO at its Beijing headquarters highlighting the entry of India and Pakistan turned out to be an embarrassment for the organisers as India’s Red Fort with the tricolour was shown as Lahore’s Shalimar Gardens in a Pakistani tableau. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian envoy to China Vijay Gokhale along with the ambassadors of Pakistan Masood Khalid and other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members attended the function. The first colourful event, however, caused an embarrassment for the organisers as India’s Red Fort with an Indian flag was shown as Lahore’s Shalimar Gardens on the tableau of Pakistan. Both Indian and Pakistani diplomats pointed out the faux pas to the organisers.
SCO officials were apologetic about the gaffe, saying that they failed to cross check the photos on display as this was the first event involving India and Pakistan. Tomorrow the SCO headquarters will raise the flags of India and Pakistan and Gokhale and Khalid will beat a drum, heralding the entry of their countries into the organisation.
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India and Pakistan were admitted as members into the six-member grouping at the Astana Summit last week. The group is now comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have an observer status in the grouping that is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO.