This Article is From Apr 26, 2023

S Jaishankar-Bilawal Bhutto Meet Unlikely At Regional Summit SCO: Sources

This week, days after the Poonch terror attack, S Jaishankar indirectly criticised Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terrorism.

India has accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorists.

New Delhi:

A formal meeting between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar of India and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is unlikely to take place when the latter visits India next month for a meeting of a regional bloc, sources said on Wednesday.

Two days ago, Mr Jaishankar indirectly criticised the country while speaking at a joint press conference with Panama's Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney Mencomo in Panama City.

"It is for us very difficult to engage with a neighbour who practices cross-border terrorism against us. We've always said that they have to deliver on the commitment not to encourage, sponsor and carry out cross-border terrorism. We continue to hope that one day we would reach that stage," he said.

Last week, five Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch.

Pakistan had announced that Mr Bhutto Zardari would attend the conference of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers in Goa on May 4 and 5, making it the first high-level visit by the country in years. India, however, said that it would not be appropriate to focus on the participation of any one country.

When asked if Pakistan had requested a bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers, Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, did not give a direct answer.

"We look forward to a successful meeting. It will not be appropriate to focus on participation by any one particular country," he said when asked about Pakistan's announcement.

The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and security alliance that comprises eight member states - China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined the organisation as full members in 2017.