India hosted SCO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Goa

India hosted the SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Goa, where External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his counterparts from member states.

India hosted SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Goa

Photo source: Ministry of External Affairs

India hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ Meet in Goa on May 4th and May 5th. Foreign ministers from member states including China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan attended the meeting. India was represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

In his opening speech, Jaishankar said, “India attaches great importance to the development of multifaceted cooperation in the SCO and to the promotion of peace, stability, economic development, prosperity and closer interaction between our people.”

Jaishankar had crucial bilateral talks with foreign ministers of China and Russia, Qin Gang and Sergey Lavrov respectively. While India and Russia discussed strengthening their bilateral ties, with the Chinese side, Jaishankar stressed improving the situation at the border to enhance bilateral cooperation.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari became the first top Pakistani official to visit India after 12 years. However, Jaishankar didn’t have any bilateral discussions with Zardari. Criticising Pakistan’s alleged role in supporting terrorism against India, Jaishankar made a strong statement on the “menace of terrorism”, including cross-border terrorism, in the presence of Zardari.

“We firmly believe that there can be no justification for terrorism and it must be stopped in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism. The channel of finances for terrorist activities must be seized and blocked without distinction. Members need not be reminded that combating terrorism is one of the original mandates of the SCO (sic)”, Jaishankar said.

India has also reiterated its demand for recognition of English as the third official language of the SCO to ensure better connectivity between the English-speaking member states of the organisation and to take its work to the global audience.

“I also seek the support of Member States for the long-standing demand of India to make English as the third official language of the organisation. This will enable a deeper engagement with English-speaking member states of the SCO and will take the work of this organisation to a wider global audience”, Jaishankar said in his speech.

The SCO has become a strong international body with a membership of populous countries like China and India, as well as the inclusion of major countries in South Asia and Central Asia. India has informed the SCO member countries’ foreign ministers that soon countries like Byelorussia (Belarus) and Iran will be full-time members of the organisation. It will further strengthen the organisation, expanding its global reach.

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