Sat, 25 Mar 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], January 26 (ANI): Pakistan on Thursday said that it is yet to decide on India's invite to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa from May.

"Pakistan and India are members of SCO. India is holding the chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of State for 2022-2023. These invitations are being processed as per standard procedures and a decision will be taken in due course," said Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson.

India has invited Pakistan's foreign minister to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting scheduled to take place on May 4-5, 2023 in Goa.

SCO is an important transregional organization that aims to strengthen economic linkages and cooperation among its Member States in different fields. Every year, SCO develops a calendar of activities, which include the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers," added the spokesperson.

India has formally sent invitations to all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) including Pakistan and China for the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting which will be held in Goa from May 4-5.

The invitation includes invites to the new Foreign Minister of China Qin Gang and Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto.

India took over the chairmanship of the 9-member mega grouping in September last year and will be holding key ministerial meetings and the summit this year.

Relations between the two countries have been precarious for many years with regard to issues of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, even as Islamabad has been seeking the restoration of Article 370 for the former Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for any talks.

Besides, FM Bilawal's remarks at the United Nations (UN) last month on PM Modi have cast a shadow over any improvement in ties between the two countries.

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 latest country to become a member and under Indian Presidency will for the first time attend the grouping's meeting as a full-fledged member.

The last meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Samarkand in Uzbekistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit. The 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO is the first in-person summit since 2019.

Notably, this year's SCO foreign ministers meeting comes in the wake-up of escalating Russia-Ukraine war and India's G20 Presidency. (ANI)

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