Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit: Jaishankar holds bilateral meetings as foreign envoys arrive in Goa

As representatives of the eight member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation arrive in Goa for the two-day Foreign Ministers’ Summit today, India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar is scheduled for bilateral meetings with many of his SCO counterparts.

Photo courtesy: Twitter/ Jaishankar, who will be hosting dinner for the visiting dignitaries, met with SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming
Jaishankar met with SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming on the sidelines of the summit. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang, Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Goa for the summit.

Jaishankar, who will be hosting dinner for the visiting dignitaries, met with SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming and his Russian and Chinese counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Qin Gang respectively, on the sidelines of the event. 

The Sino-Indian discussions focussed on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring "peace and tranquility" in the border areas. The two foreign ministers held detailed discussions, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) FM meet, revolving around SCO, G20 and BRICS, said Jaishankar.

Indian EAM Dr S Jaishankar (right) with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

Zhang Ming expressed a positive outlook on India’s efforts to enhance the SCO’s strength. Jaishankar described his interaction with Zhang Ming as "productive". The EAM said that the Indian Presidency is driven by a "commitment to Secure SCO".

"Started my meetings at SCO CFM with a productive interaction with Secretary General Zhang Ming. Appreciate his support for India's SCO Presidency. Indian presidency is driven by a commitment to SECURE SCO," Jaishankar tweeted.

Jaishankar and Lavrov held wide-ranging talks on overall bilateral cooperation, the conflict in Ukraine, and other global issues of mutual interest. Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who has also arrived for the summit, said his participation in India reflects Islamabad's commitment to the charter of the SCO. The Pakistan minister said his visit to India should not be seen in terms of bilateral ties.

This summit will set the stage for the SCO Leaders’ Summit to be held in July in New Delhi.

EAM Jaishankar with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Huma_Siddiqui

The theme for the duration of India's time as SCO chair in 2023 is SECURE-SCO. India attaches special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interactions in the region.

“The ongoing engagement with SCO has helped India promote its relations with the countries in the region with which India has shared civilisational linkages, and is considered India’s extended neighbourhood,” said an official statement.

“SCO pursues its policy based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, non-interference in internal affairs, equality of all member States and mutual understanding and respect for opinions of each of them," it added.

On the agenda for the SCO under India’s presidency will also be modernisation of the grouping with focus on advanced technology and digital infrastructure. The agenda also includes discussions with regional counterparts on various regional, security, and political issues.

India, since becoming a member in 2017, has persistently pushed for the strengthening of collaboration on issues pertaining to regional security, defence, and combating terrorism, among others.

All the delegations will be staying at Taj Exotica in Benaulim, where the meetings are going to be held.

The official engagements begin on May 5 with the arrival of foreign ministers and heads of delegations at the meeting venue, followed by a group photo.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who has also arrived for the summit
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the summit venue. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

The meeting of the council of foreign ministers (CFM) will begin in the morning and by noon the ‘decision document’ will be signed, which will be followed by a working lunch.

The event will conclude with the signing of a Memorandum with New Dialogue Partners. The leaders will then hold various bilateral meetings with their respective counterparts from other nations.