Pakistan to attend India-hosted SCO defence ministers' meet this week
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif will virtually attend the meeting scheduled to begin on April 27
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Defence Minister Khawaja Asif will join the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers virtually this week, says Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch on Wednesday.
The SCO is a key regional forum comprising Pakistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and India. It focuses primarily on the areas of trade, finance, commerce and socioeconomic cooperation among the SCO member states. Currently, the presidency of the forum is held by India which is organising a series of events.
The two-day long defence ministers’ moot is scheduled to begin tomorrow (April 27) in New Delhi. China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu will also attend the SCO meeting, marking his first trip to India since the 2020 Galwan incident.
“Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Li Shangfu will attend a defence ministers’ meeting among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation from Thursday to Friday in India. He will make a speech and meet heads of delegations from other countries: Chinese Defence Ministry,” China’s state-run Global Times tweeted.
The Russian defence minister will also attend the event with theme, ‘SECURE-SCO’. Besides permanent states, Belarus and Iran will also participate as observer countries.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will also be leading the Pakistan delegation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers meeting being held on May 4 and 5 in Goa, India.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch confirmed the development while briefing the media persons in Islamabad. She said the foreign minister would attend the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting at the invitation of the current Chair Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India.
Ms Baloch said the participation in the meeting reflected Pakistan's commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities.
The spokesperson said Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also attended the last meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in July last year in Tashkent.