The conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers, which is set to take place in Goa, has received an invitation from India, inviting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan’s foreign minister, to attend. The invitation—the first in at least 12 years—is the result of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s declaration that his nation has learned its lesson and wishes to have friendly relations with India.
The upcoming SCO summit will take place in Goa from May 4-5, and India has officially invited every SCO member—including Pakistan and China—to attend. According to the report, S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, made an official invitation to the Pakistani foreign minister via the Indian Embassy in Islamabad.
This year’s summit and important ministerial meetings will be held in India, which assumed the chairmanship of the nine-member major grouping in September of last year.
Whether or not Foreign Minister Bilawal will attend the meeting has not yet been confirmed by the Pakistani side.
In 2012, Hina Rabbani Khar, the last Pakistani foreign minister to travel to India, did so to meet with her Indian counterpart. Recently, Hina remarked that statesmanship was necessary to settle the problems between Pakistan and India. Without India reversing the legal modifications (Article 370) in Jammu and Kashmir, she contended, there was no possibility of normalcy between the two neighbouring nations.
A notable omission from the SCO Film Festival, which will take place in Mumbai later this month, is Pakistan. The third such film festival hosted by the organisation has received submissions from all nations with the exception of Pakistan.
Eight countries make up the SCO, an intergovernmental organisation, including China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran is the group’s newest member, and it will attend its meeting as a full member for the first time.