India holds the current presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (Image: SCOInIndia)
The participation of China and Pakistan in the upcoming SCO foreign ministers’ meeting is uncertain
Union minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi told the parliament earlier this week that the participation of most of the foreign ministers of the member states for the upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers in Goa has been confirmed but the confirmation of foreign ministers of China and Pakistan is still awaited.
The meeting will be held in May 2023.
During the meeting the foreign ministers will discuss issues such as security, counterterrorism and regional and global issues of mutual interest.
India will host the SCO Heads of State Summit in July 2023. India is the current president of the SCO.
If Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang confirms his attendance it will be the second time that Gang will visit India as Chinese foreign minister following his appointment earlier this year.
He attended the G20 foreign ministers’ summit earlier this year in New Delhi.
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Singh Bhutto is yet to confirm his attendance and if he does this will be the first time a foreign minister from Pakistan will visit India since 2011.
Hina Rabbani Khar was the last foreign minister to visit Pakistan.
Even though the SCO events have been held without incident, a delegation from Pakistan which was part of the meeting between military medical professionals, being held as a part of the SCO framework, dropped out after the Indian delegation objected to the use of maps showing Kashmir as Pakistani territory.
During the meeting hosted by New Delhi-based think tank Institute of Defence Studies (IDSA), the Pakistani delegation presented a map which the Indian delegation objected to.
The Indian side asked them to replace it with the genuine one, following which the Pakistani delegation dropped out of the meeting.
The Energy Minister of Pakistan, KD Khan, participated in the meeting of energy ministers of the SCO on March 14. A Pakistani delegation also attended a workshop on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Risk Mitigation, as well as Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, on the same day.
(with inputs from Shalinder Wangu)
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