Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) foreign ministers meeting in India next month, the foreign office said on Thursday.
The SCO is a regional political and security bloc led by China and Russia.
“Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will be leading the Pakistan delegation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) being held on 4-5 May 2023 in Goa, India,” said the foreign office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.
“The Foreign Minister is attending the SCO CFM meeting at the invitation of the current Chair of SCO CFM, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of the Republic of India.”
She added that Pakistan’s participation in the meeting reflected its commitment to the SCO charter and processes and the importance that the country accorded to the region in its foreign policy priorities.
This will be the first visit by a top Pakistani government official to India in nearly a decade. The last Pakistani foreign minister to visit India was Hina Rabbani Khar, who is now the minister of state for foreign affairs and Bilawal’s deputy in the ministry.
The development comes as a surprise since Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India after New Delhi revoked the special constitutional status of the occupied and disputed region of Kashmir in August 2019 to integrate it with the rest of the Indian Union.