Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lands in Goa for SCO Conference
4 May, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastav
Pakistani Foreign Minister for the first time set foot on Indian soil after a gap of 11 years since Hina Rabbani Khar's visit in 2011.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister landed in Goa on Thursday afternoon to attend the SCO conference of Foreign Ministers from the member states.
Bilawal is the first Pakistani foreign minister to visit India after a gap of 12 years, after Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit in 2011. Zardari, the first Pakistani foreign minister to visit India in almost 12 years, said he looks forward to constructive discussions with his counterparts from friendly countries.
“I am happy to arrive in Goa for participating in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. I am leading the Pakistan delegation at SCO and hope that the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) will be successful,” Zardari stated in a video posted by the spokesperson for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After landing in Goa, Pakistan’s minister was greeted by JP Singh, an Indian diplomat Joint Secretary, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk
Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, visited India in 2011.
Zardari said earlier today that he will lead his country’s delegation to the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Goa. Zardari stated that his attendance at the meeting demonstrates Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the SCO charter.
“On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization CFM. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO,” Bilawal said in a video tweeted by him before his departure from Karachi.
“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” Bilawal added.
The Pakistani politician has accepted the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to join the SCO conference.
Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers reach Goa for SCO Conference
In the meantime, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang reached Goa earlier today to attend the SCO conference. He is scheduled to meet with EAM Jaishankar later today. Shilpak Ambule, Joint Secretary for East Asia, welcomed the Chinese Foreign Minister.
Sergey Lavrov who is also in town along with his delegation is set to meet with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Lavrov is also expected to hold several bilateral discussions with his SCO counterparts.
‘Secure-SCO’ is the theme of India’s SCO Chairmanship in 2023. India has given significant importance to the SCO’s role in developing regional multilateral, political, security, economic, and people-to-people ties.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s most recent summit was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.