India has formally sent invitations to all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) including Pakistan and China for the upcoming foreign ministers’ meeting which will be held in Goa from 4-5 May. The invitation includes invites to the new Foreign Minister of China Qin Gang and Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto. Sources told The Daily Guardian that there was no confirmation from the Pakistani side on whether foreign minister Bilawal would be attending the meeting. “Bilawal is unlikely to visit India to attend the Goa meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers,” diplomatic sources told TDG. The new Chinese Foreign Minister will definitely come to India as he had indicated that Beijing sought to improve ties with New Delhi, say sources. “But there is hardly any possibility of Bilawal coming to attend the Goa meeting,” added the sources. Pakistan’s ties with India, which are nearly frozen since 2019, touched a new low last year when Bhutto made an uncivilised outburst against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is highly unlikely that Bhutto would even think of visiting India with such bitter baggage, a diplomat said. Bhutto’s uncivilised remarks against the Indian leadership dashed any hope for the resumption of engagements in near future between India and Pakistan, he added. “Bilawal’s remarks at the United Nations (UN) last month on PM Modi have cast a shadow over any improvement in ties between both the countries,” sources said. Pakistan has not participated in the SCO Film Festival to be held in Mumbai later this month. While all countries have sent entries, Pakistan is the only country that did not send any film for screening in the group’s third such film festival. “There is only one SCO member country, from which entries have not been received, there has been no response,” Neerja Shekar, Additional Secretary, I&B said on Monday in a press conference. The 20-year-old organization has Russia, India, China, Pakistan, and four central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as its members. Iran is the latest country to become a member and under Indian Presidency will for the first time attend the grouping’s meeting as a full-fledged member. The last meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India took over the chairmanship of the 9-member mega grouping in September of last year and will be holding key ministerial meetings and the summit this year.
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