Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar today welcomed his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in Goa at a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Visuals showed the foreign ministers’ customary greeting with folded hands before the two posed for pictures and Mr Jaishankar directed him to the venue.
Bilawal Bhutto has become the first senior leader from the neighbouring country to visit India in almost 12 years. However, there’s no confirmation yet of a bilateral between India and Pakistan’s Foreign Ministers.
Mr Bhutto’s visit to India to attend the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting comes amid continuing strain in ties between the two countries on a host of issues, including Islamabad’s use of cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pakistan foreign minister was received at the airport in Goa earlier today by JP Singh, the joint secretary heading the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division at the external affairs ministry.
Earlier, on the sidelines of the big meeting at Benaulim in Goa, Mr Jaishankar spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who reiterated that the situation at the India-China border is generally stable, and both sides should consolidate the present achievements and strictly abide by the relevant agreements while pushing for further cooling and easing of the conditions for sustainable peace and tranquillity at the frontier.
In a tweet after the talks, Mr Jaishankar said the focus remained on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
“A detailed discussion with State Councillor and FM Qin Gang of China on our bilateral relationship. Focus remains on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” he said.
India took over the rotating presidency of the SCO at the Samarkand SCO Summit in 2022. This year, India is hosting several important SCO meetings, including the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Goa from May 4-5.