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'Committed to SCO charter, India visit not related to New Delhi-Islamabad bilateral ties': Bilawal Bhutto Pakistan
Image Credit: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Twitter video grab

'Committed to SCO charter, India visit not related to New Delhi-Islamabad bilateral ties': Bilawal Bhutto

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 21 Apr 2023, 04:49 pm

New Delhi: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that his attendance at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council (SCO) in India is a demonstration of Islamabad's commitment to the SCO charter, media reports said.

He emphasized that his presence should not be viewed through the lens of bilateral relations between Pakistan and India.

Speaking to Dunya News 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, reported ANI.

On Thursday, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry announced that Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will be leading the Pakistani delegation at the upcoming meeting of the SCO foreign ministers (CFM) on May 4-5 in Goa.

During a weekly press briefing on Thursday, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the spokesperson for Pakistan's Foreign Office, stated that Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has been invited to attend the SCO-CFM meeting by 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 Bhutto's visit to India for the SCO-CFM meeting will mark the first time a Pakistani foreign minister has travelled to India in almost 12 years. The last Pakistani foreign minister to visit India was Hina Rabbani Khar in 2011.

India has sent formal invitations to all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) including Pakistan and China for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting.

It is expected that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov will also attend the SCO-CFM meeting.

India assumed the chairmanship of the 9-member SCO in September 2020 and will be hosting important ministerial meetings and a summit this year.

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 newest member and will attend the grouping's meeting as a full-fledged member under Indian Presidency.

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 the June 2019 meeting of the SCO leaders in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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