External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar is set to visit Uzbekistan on Thursday to take part in the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
Jaishankar will be sharing the table with his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto at the SCO Foreign Ministers meeting.
This is the first time, Bhutto will be meeting EAM Jaishankar face to face after the formation of the new coalition government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) in Islamabad, led by Shehbaz Sharif.
Jaishankar is participating at the invitation of the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Vladimir Norov to take part in the meeting, said MEA in a release.
The meeting assumes significance as the Foreign Ministers will hold discussions and prepare for the upcoming meeting of the Council of Heads of State which is slated to be held on September 15-16, 2022 in Samarkand.
The discussion will review ongoing cooperation in the expansion of the SCO Organisation and exchange ideas on regional and global developments of common concern, the release stated.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also be attending the meeting. Jaishankar may have a bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi to review the outcome of the recently held 16th round of negotiations between the military commanders of India and China to resolve the stand-off along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
If the bilateral talks happen, Jaishankar – Wang meeting may also pave the way for the possible meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Both are expected to attend the SCO summit on September 15 and 16 at Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The 20th Meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) was held on November 25, 2021, in Nur-Sultan through video conference under the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan and Jaishankar represented India in the meeting, according to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.
This year, Uzbekistan is chairing the SCO meeting and will be the organizer of all the events pertaining to the two-decade-old grouping that includes Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and 4 central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. SCO has four observer states, namely Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia.
It has six dialogue partners, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. Uzbekistan took over the chairmanship of the organization from Tajikistan on September 17, 2021. India will hold the SCO summit next year.