India to hold regional summit virtually amid China, Pakistan tensions

New Delhi, May 31 (EFE).- India has canceled an in-person regional security and economic summit and decided to hold it virtually amid rising tensions with Pakistan and China.

The Indian foreign ministry did not provide a reason behind the sudden change in holding the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, which would have included visits by the leaders of China and Pakistan, two countries with whom India has ongoing regional disputes.

The summit would have also set up President Vladimir Putin’s first India trip since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.

“The 23rd summit of the SCO council of heads of state will be held in the virtual format on July 4, 2023, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday night.

However, Xi and Putin may travel to India for the G20 Summit in September.

Before that, Modi, Xi, and Putin could meet for the BRICS summit in South Africa in August.

India said it has invited all the SCO member states – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – to attend the virtual summit.

India held the SCO foreign ministers meeting in the coastal state of Goa on May 4.

All member nations, including Pakistan and China, had attended the Goa meeting.

However, a war of words over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir between Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari overshadowed the meeting.

Jaishankar did not hold bilateral talks with Zardari, but did so with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, with a raging Sino-Indian border dispute dominating the meeting.

“Focus remains on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquility in the border areas,” Jaishankar tweeted after meeting with Qin. EFE


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