For the SCO meeting in May, India invites the foreign ministers of China and Pakistan

According to sources, India has welcomed Bilawal Bhutto, the foreign affairs minister of Pakistan, as well as other members to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, which will likely take place in Goa in early May. Also soon, invitations to the SCO summit, which is anticipated to take place in June of this year, will be sent to Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The SCO administrators’ third conference, held in Varanasi on January 17, and earlier sessions, organised by the Indian SCO National Coordinator Yojna Patel in Delhi, discussed the times and locations for both meetings. Although administrators had visited India last year for prior meetings, including the SCO-Regional Anti-Terror Structure Meeting, Pakistan’s SCO National Coordinator participated in the Varanasi meeting electronically.

The G20 diplomats have already been invited by India to the March 1-2 conference, as well as the annual MEA Raisina Dialogue conference. Both the recently appointed Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang and the Russian foreign secretary Sergey Lavrov, who last visited Delhi in March, are scheduled to come for the G20 and then the SCO conference.

Although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unexpectedly shook hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 conference in Bali last November, India and China have had relatively few formal interactions since the April 2020 LAC dispute started. In the midst of the conflict in Ukraine, all eyes will also be on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees to visit either the SCO conference anticipated in June or the G20 summit scheduled for September.

According to officials, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad conveyed the warm welcome to the SCO Ministers’ meeting to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. However, it is still uncertain whether Pakistan will accept the invitation and at what level, implying that either Mr. Bhutto or Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar would attend the conference.

Ms. Khar was the last minister of foreign affairs from Pakistan to visit India for a formal meeting in July 2011, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the final head of state from Pakistan to visit India for PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony in May 2014. The last time an Indian official visited Pakistan was in December 2015, and that was former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Although Cabinet Members travelled to the Pakistani village of Kartarpur to oversee the building of the corridor connecting the Kartarpur Gurdwara Darbar to India’s Baba Dera Nanak, since 2016 there have been no formal discussions on unresolved issues between the two parties.

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