Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto leaves for India to attend SCO meeting in Goa | India News

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari traveled to India on Thursday to attend a key multilateral meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in Goa on May 4-5.
Bhutto Zardari, who would become the first foreign minister to visit India since 2011, heads Pakistan’s delegation to the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Beijing-based Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The Foreign Office (FO) announced that the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan to attend the SCO-CFM was extended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of India, S. Jaishankar, who is the current Chair of the SCO.
FO spokesman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Bilawal left Karachi for Goa.
“FM @BBhuttoZardari is leaving #Karachi to attend #SCO Foreign Ministers Council,” the spokesman tweeted with a picture of his departure.
At Pakistan’s request, Bhutto Zardari was granted special permission to use Indian airspace by the Indian Civil Aviation Authority, Duniya TV reported.
“On the way to Goa, India. Will lead the Pakistani delegation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization CFM. My decision to attend this meeting demonstrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the SCO charter,” Bhutto Zardari tweeted before his departure.
“During my visit, which will focus solely on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” he said.
“Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will also meet his counterparts from friendly countries on the sidelines of the CFM,” the FO said recently.
Pakistan has stated that the Pakistani Foreign Minister will not hold a meeting with his Indian counterpart.
The visit is highly symbolic as it is the first by a Pakistani foreign minister since Hina Rabbani Khar traveled to India for peace talks in July 2011.
The FO also said that in addition to discussing key regional and international issues and signing some institutional documents, the CFM will finalize the agenda and decisions to be adopted by the 17th meeting of the SCO Heads of State meeting to be held in New are due to Delhi on 3rd and 4th July.
The CFM also witnessed the signing of MoUs with five countries, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates, to become dialogue partners of the SCO.
In addition to Pakistan, the member states of the SCO include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India.
Since its membership in 2017, Pakistan has actively and constructively contributed to all SCO activities to realize its multisectoral goals and objectives in a mutually beneficial way, the FO said.
Relations between India and Pakistan were severely strained after Indian warplanes bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in February 2019 in response to the Pulwama terrorist attack.
Relations deteriorated further after India announced in 2019 that it would withdraw special rights from Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories.

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