Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in Goa, India, on Thursday for his maiden visit to the neighboring country to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
Bilawal is leading the country’s delegation to the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Goa on May 4-5.
In a tweet sent from Karachi to India, Bilawal underlined Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the SCO charter.
“My visit [to India] demonstrates how much Pakistan values the SCO and how seriously it regards SCO membership,” he added in a brief video message.
The foreign minister expressed his desire to engage in bilateral discussions with the international forum’s members.
“I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries during my visit, which is solely focused on the SCO,” Bilawal posted on the microblogging site.
FM Bilawal takes politicos into confidence
The foreign minister had earlier reassured coalition partners and the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chairman about his first travel to India.
Bilawal telephoned Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Ameer Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, JI Ameer Sirajul Haq and National Party (NP) leader Tahir Bizenjo.
During his two-day stay in Goa, he met with them.
“Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO charter and processes, as well as the importance Pakistan places on the region in its foreign policy priorities,” added the FO spokeswoman.
According to a Foreign Office release, the FM will attend the SCO meeting at the invitation of the current chair, India’s Minister for External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar.
According to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sources, the foreign minister, accompanied by a delegation, would fly from Karachi to Goa on a chartered airplane.
According to individuals familiar with the situation, the Indian civil aviation authorities called the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA) and finalized the path for the special plane.
The council will finalise the agenda and conclusions to be approved by the 17th SCO Council of Heads of State Meeting, which will be held in New Delhi on July 3-4, 2023, in addition to deliberating on major regional and international problems and signing some institutional agreements.
The meeting will also see the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with five nations to become SCO Dialogue Partners: Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar, and the UAE.
FM Bilawal will also meet with counterparts from friendly countries on the sidelines of the SCO.
Besides Pakistan, SCO member states include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and India.
SCO’s major objectives include promoting mutual confidence and good, neighborly relations among member states, strengthening regional peace, security and stability, and creating a framework for effective cooperation in the fields of politics, trade and economy, culture, science and technology, education, energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection, etc.
Since becoming a member in 2017, Pakistan has been actively and constructively contributing to all SCO activities to realize its multi-sectoral aims and objectives in a mutually beneficial manner.