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‘Difficult to associate with terrorist country…’, Jaishankar said before Bilawal’s visit

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting next week that it is very difficult to engage with a neighboring country that promotes cross-border terrorism. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is also expected to attend the meeting. Jaishankar condemned Pakistan, a country that nurtures terrorism, for the recent attack on an army convoy in Jammu and Kashmir. Five Indian soldiers were killed in this terror attack. According to Pakistani media, news was received that Bilawal Bhutto would visit India to participate in the meeting, but the issue is still pending.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a regional political and security bloc whose members include Russia, China, India and Pakistan. India is hosting this meeting. This will be a meeting of foreign ministers. In this meeting on May 5 in Goa, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Qin Gang of China will also be involved. Bilateral meetings are also expected in this, but no proposal has yet come regarding such a meeting with Bilawal. There is also news that the possibility of a courtesy meeting between the two has not been completely ruled out.

Zardari’s visit to India will be the first by a Pakistani leader after Nawaz Sharif in 2014. In February 2019, relations between India and Pakistan were severely strained after New Delhi carried out surgical strikes on terrorist training camps in Pakistan’s Balakot in response to the Pulwama terror attack. Relations further deteriorated after India announced in August 2019 the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special powers and bifurcation of the state into union territories.