Chinese, Russian, Pakistani foreign ministers to meet in India for SCO summit
New Delhi, May 4 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were set to arrive in India on Thursday to take part in the meeting of the group.
China’s Qin Gang, Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov and Pakistan’s Bilawal Bhutto would gather in India’s southwestern state of Goa for the bloc’s working-group meetings, which mark the first India visit of a high-level Pakistani leader in more than a decade.
Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is expected to preside over the summit of the eight SCO members on Friday to discuss political and economic issues as well as defense and (international) security matters pertinent to the region.
Lavrov, who landed in Goa on Thursday, sees the meetings as an opportunity to strengthen alliances in the backdrop of the Ukraine war and is set to meet many of his counterparts, his spokesperson said last week.
Indian media outlets cited diplomatic sources to report that the Russian top diplomat was set to meet Jaishankar on Thursday on the sidelines of the SCO meet.
The foreign ministers’ summit also has a special significance for India-Pakistan ties due to Bhutto’s visit.
However, a bilateral meeting between the two sides appeared to be out of the question, especially after Jaishankar said that it was “very difficult to engage with a neighbor who practices cross-border terrorism,” during his recent Panama visit.
The last Pakistani minister to visit India was Hina Rabbani Khar – the external affairs minister at the time – in 2011
India and Pakistan, neighbors and nuclear powers, have witnessed bilateral tensions for decades mainly due to the dispute over the Kashmir region, having fought two wars and several minor conflicts over the issue.
India in 2017 joined the SCO, an entity focused on political, economic, security and defense issues, which also comprises of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
Apart from the eight member states, the bloc currently has four observers – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia – and six dialogue partners – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
Established in 2001, the SCO has a special focus on regional security, the fight against terrorism in the region, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. EFE