Srinagar: The foreign ministers of Pakistan and India are unlikely to have a formal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) ministerial meeting later this month, although the two could have a formal handshake.
“The two foreign ministers would be present in the meeting and in all likelihood would interact amongst themselves and with other leaders. No formal meeting is, however, envisaged,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing on Thursday.
The SCO ministerial meeting is being held in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on May 21-22, a couple of days before the announcement of the results of elections in India.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would be representing Pakistan at the meeting, whereas External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would be leading the Indian delegation. The foreign ministers of the two countries have not met for over three years now and a meeting planned in New York last September was cancelled.
The relations between India and Pakistan have been very tense lately. The two have been engaged in a military stand-off after a suicide attack in Pulwama and all-out hostilities were prevented only through some intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
The speculation about a possible meeting of the foreign ministers was set off by Wednesday’s meeting between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood and Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria.
When asked about the meeting between HC Bisaria and FS Mehmood, Dr Faisal said: “Such meetings occur regularly to discuss various evolving issues. I cannot disclose the detailed agenda.”