‘Visit not to be seen as…’: Bilawal Bhutto on visiting India for SCO meet
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that Bhutto will lead the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of SCO scheduled to be held on May 4-5 in Goa.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that his participation in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council in India reflected Islamabad's commitment to the charter of the SCO and should not be seen in terms of bilateral ties.
Responding to a question on a programme on Dunya News aired on Thursday, he said he would represent Pakistan at the Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Goa next month. "We are committed to the SCO charter and this visit should not be seen as a bilateral one but in the context of the SCO," Bhutto-Zardari said.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that Bhutto-Zardari will lead the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of SCO foreign ministers (CFM) scheduled to be held on May 4-5 in Goa.
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch during a weekly presser on Thursday stated that Bhutto-Zardari is attending the SCO-CFM meeting at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
"Our participation at the meeting reflects Pakistan's continued commitment to the SCO charter and process and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities," the spokesperson said.
Bilawal will be the first foreign minister to visit India after a gap of nearly 12 years, reported Business Recorder. In 2011, then Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited India.
India has formally sent invitations to all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) including Pakistan and China for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting.
Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov will also likely participate in the meeting.
India took over the chairmanship of the 9-member mega grouping in September last year and will be holding key ministerial meetings and the summit this year.
Relations between the two countries have been precarious for many years with regard to issues of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, even as Islamabad has been seeking the restoration of Article 370 for the former Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for any talks.
The 20-year-old organization has Russia, India, China, Pakistan, and four central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as its members.
Iran is the latest country to become a member and under Indian Presidency will for the first time attend the grouping's meeting as a full-fledged member.
The last meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in September 2022, was the first in-person summit since June 2019 meeting of the SCO leaders in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Notably, this year's SCO foreign ministers meeting comes in the wake-up of escalating Russia-Ukraine war and India's G20 Presidency.