Jaishankar welcomes Bilawal Bhutto for SCO meeting in Goa

Panaji, May 5 : External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday welcomed his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in Goa on Friday for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. Bilawal's visit is the first by a Pakistani Foreign Minister to India since July 2011. Sources informed that SCO Foreign Ministers will finalise their deliberations on the second day of their meeting on Friday. A set of 15 decisions or proposals are likely to be finalised for consideration of the grouping's summit in July. The proposals are aimed at expanding cooperation among the SCO member countries in the areas of trade, technology, commerce, security and socio-cultural ties. The meeting is being chaired by Jaishankar. The two-day meeting of SCO members began here on Thursday. Jaishankar also met SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming and appreciated his support for India's SCO Presidency and added that it is driven by a commitment to secure the bloc. He laid down the key focus areas including startups, traditional medicine, youth empowerment, Buddhist heritage and science & technology. On the sidelines of the meeting, the Union Minister on Thursday also held a discussion with China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang "on our bilateral relationship". "Focus remains on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border areas," Jaishankar said in a tweet, adding that their talks also focused on the SCO, G20 and BRICS. Established in June 15, 2001 in Shanghai, the SCO originally comprised Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became members subsequently. /IANS


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