EAM Jaishankar to participate in SCO meet in Uzbekistan
The meet will discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of the SCO council of heads of state in Samarkand during September 15-16, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday
External affairs minister S Jaishankar will visit Uzbekistan during July 28-29 to participate in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) council of foreign ministers.
The meet will discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of the SCO council of heads of state in Samarkand during September 15-16, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday.
The foreign ministers will review ongoing cooperation for expansion of the SCO organisation and exchange ideas on regional and global developments of common concern, the ministry said.
Jaishankar, who is visiting at the invitation of Uzbekistan’s acting foreign minister Vladimir Norov, is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the margins of the SCO meet. If the meeting goes ahead, this will be the second time this month that Jaishankar and Wang will hold talks on the sidelines of a multilateral event.
However, there is little optimism in New Delhi for any breakthrough or forward movement on the two-year-old military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), given the positions adopted by both sides.
Jaishankar and Wang had held talks on the margins of a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia on July 7. There has been no official announcement from either side about a meeting in Tashkent, though people familiar with the matter said a bilateral meeting between the two ministers isn’t being ruled out.
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari too will attend the SCO meeting. There was no word on a possible meeting between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh is expected to attend a meeting of SCO defence ministers in Uzbekistan next month, setting up the possibility of a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
At his last meeting with Wang on July 7, Jaishankar called for an “early resolution” of all outstanding issues along the LAC and reiterated the need to complete troop disengagement at all friction points to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas. So far, the two sides have withdrawn frontline troops from two friction points – Pangong Lake and Gogra.
A readout issued by China’s foreign ministry after the July 7 meeting made no mention at all of the LAC standoff and quoted Wang as saying that the two sides had managed and controlled their differences, and bilateral relations were witnessing a “momentum of recovery”.
Last week, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had brushed aside the Chinese side’s reference to a “momentum of recovery” and emphasised the need to focus on troop disengagement, de-escalation and peace and tranquillity in the border areas to normalise bilateral ties.