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SCO FMs meeting may witness first-ever in-person interaction between Jaishankar, Bilawal Bhutto and Wang Yi
New Delhi: The upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Ministers meeting may witness the first-ever in-person interaction between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto as both of them are set to attend the event.
Jaishankar will sit face-to-face for a direct conversation with the Pakistani Foreign Minister from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) administration. It is pertinent to mention that this will be the first meeting between both the foreign ministers since Shehbaz Sharif became Pakistan Prime Minister after Imran Khan was ousted from power through a no-confidence motion. India will be attending two key meetings in Uzbekistan - SCO Foreign Ministers meet and an international conference on Afghanistan in Uzbekistan.
The conference on Afghanistan will take place on July 25th and 26th, while the foreign minister meeting will take place on July 28th and 29th.
Bilawal after assuming office had said that he desires re-engagement with India.
However, there is no indication of a bilateral India-Pakistan meeting on the sidelines of SCO yet, as far as talks with Pakistan, New Delhi has consistently said that terror and talks cannot go together.
Meanwhile, Jaishankar's participation in the SCO is yet to be announced officially.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also be attending the meeting. Jaishankar may have a bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to review the outcome of the recently held 16th round of negotiations between the military commanders of India and China to resolve the stand-off along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
If the bilateral talks happen, Jaishankar - Wang meeting may also pave the way for the possible meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both are expected to attend the SCO summit on September 15 and 16 at Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is also expected to participate along with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the September meeting.
Jaishankar - Wang also met on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting at Bali in Indonesia on July 7. In the meeting, EAM Jaishankar called for an early resolution of all the outstanding issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
Recalling the disengagement achieved in some friction areas, Jaishankar reiterated the need to sustain the momentum to complete disengagement from all the remaining areas to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The 20th Meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) was held on November 25, 2021, in Nur-Sultan through video conference under the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan and Jaishankar represented India in the meeting, according to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.
In his address, External Affairs Minister underlined India's strong cultural and historical connection with the SCO region and reiterated India's firm commitment towards deepening multilateral cooperation in the areas of climate change, security, trade, and culture.
This year, Uzbekistan is chairing the SCO meeting and will be the organizer of all the events pertaining to the two-decade-old grouping that includes Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and 4 central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
SCO has four observer states, namely Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia.
It has six dialogue partners, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.
Uzbekistan took over the chairmanship of the organization from Tajikistan on September 17, 2021. India will hold the SCO summit next year. (ANI)