India has invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) foreign ministers' meeting. The invitations were sent through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. This comes at a time when the relationship between both countries has nosedived over a combination of factors like terrorism. Pakistan is yet to respond to India's invitation.
India, the chair of SCO, will host the key ministerial meetings and summit in Goa in the first week of May. If Bhutto accepts the invite and visits India, it will be the first high-profile tour from Pakistan in over a decade. Hina Rabbani Khar was the last Pakistani foreign minister to visit India in 2011.
Recently, Hina Rabbani Khar said the statesmanship needed to resolve the issues between Pakistan and India was missing. She suggested that there was no chance of normalcy between both neighbouring countries unless India reversed the legislative changes (Article 370) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bilawal Bhutto, too, made objectionable remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations (UN) last month. New Delhi slammed Bhutto for his "uncivilised outburst" at Prime Minister Modi. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the comments made by Bhutto were a new low, even for Pakistan.
"Pakistan's foreign minister's frustration would be better directed towards the masterminds of terrorist enterprises in his own country, who have made terrorism a part of their state policy. Pakistan needs to change its own mindset or remain a pariah," he said.
The SCO is an intergovernmental organization that comprises eight member states - China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India has also sent invitations to the foreign ministers of China and Russia along with the other Central Asian countries. Iran is the newest member of the organization and it will, for the first time, attend the grouping's meeting as a full member.
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