India, Pak foreign ministers to attend Shanghai conclave

Though both will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers, they will not meet separately.

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will attend the foreign ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on May 21-22.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers conclave will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

This would be Narendra Modi government’s last foreign affairs engagement as it would end on the penultimate day of counting for results of the general elections held in India. Polling in India ends on May 19 and results would be announced on May 23.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Bishkek, where the meet is going to be held ahead of the SCO summit in June.

Sources have confirmed to India Today that there would be no bilateral or even a pull-aside between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the meeting. Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would both be at a multilateral forum again after their proposed bilateral meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last September was cancelled.

India and Pakistan were made full members of the SCO in 2017.

This comes at a time when India has drawn a very hard line on Pakistan and the issue of terrorism. With Pulwama terror attacks and Jaish-e-Mohammed’s role in it, India is waiting to see what Pakistan will do.

The chief of JeM, Masood Azhar, was finally designated a global terrorist this month after a decade since the first time the world body was moved seeking his listing. Now, India awaits action.

Meanwhile, even as India’s messaging remains the same terror and talks cannot go together, all eyes would on the summit level meeting to be held next month where Pakistani prime minister will meet the newly elected prime minister of India.

Source: India Today