Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, arrived in Goa to attend an SCO meet. He is the first Pakistani Foreign Minister to visit India in 12 years.
Bhutto Zardari flew from Karachi to Goa for the SCO foreign ministers meeting and was welcomed at the airport by joint secretary JP Singh, the head of the external affairs ministry's Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk.
On Thursday, he is expected to attend a cultural event and dinner hosted by the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar along with other SCO foreign ministers.
Bhutto Zardari plans to meet with SCO member states' counterparts in Goa, as he mentioned in a short video message before leaving Pakistan.
“Today, I am going to Goa in India, where I’m leading the Pakistani delegation to attend the SCO’s council of foreign ministers,” he said.
“My going there sends a clear message of the importance attached to SCO by Pakistan and how seriously it takes its membership. I’m looking forward to engaging bilaterally with countries that are part of this organisation,” he added.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson tweeted that Bhutto Zardari will meet with friendly country counterparts at the SCO meeting.
People familiar with the matter said there was no proposal for a bilateral meeting between Bhutto Zardari and Jaishankar, reports Hindustan Times.
As per the report, the last visit of this nature occurred in December 2016 when Pakistan's Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz went to Amritsar for the Heart of Asia conference. However, no bilateral meeting transpired as India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was unwell at the time.
Back in May 2014, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, made a visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In July 2011, the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, paid a visit to India and engaged in a bilateral meeting with the then External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna.
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