Home / News / India /  First time in 12 years, India invites Pakistan's foreign minister for SCO meet: Report

India has sent an invitation to Pakistan's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting which is scheduled to take place in Goa. This step comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in an interview had said that Pakistan has learned the lesson from three wars with India and wants to have a peaceful relationship with its neighbour.

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.

According to a report published in the English daily, The Indian Express, an official invitation from India was sent to Pakistan's foreign minister by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar through the Indian Embassy in Islamabad. India took over the chairmanship of the 9-member mega grouping in September of last year and will be holding key ministerial meetings and the summit this year. "So far there is no confirmation from the Pakistani side whether Foreign Minister Bilawal will attend the meeting or not," sources said to news agency ANI. It was in 2012 when Hina Rabbani Khar visited India as foreign minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan has not participated in the SCO Film Festival to be held in Mumbai later this month. While all countries have sent entries, Pakistan is the only country that did not send any film for screening in the group's third such film festival.

"There is only one SCO member country, from which entries have not been received, there has been no response," Neerja Shekar, Additional Secretary, I&B said on Monday in a press conference.

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 both the 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.

*With agency inputs

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