ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj held an informal meeting on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Wednesday.
Qureshi said: “Today [I] met Sushma Ji. She had a complaint that we sometimes talk in a bitter manner. She brought sweets today so we could speak sweetly.”
The Foreign Office quoted the FM as saying: “We made it clear to her that we want all the matters resolved through dialogue, and that PM Imran Khan had said in his very first speech that if India takes one step forward, we would take two steps forward. Even today we are ready for talks.”
The Sushma-Qureshi meeting came at the end of two-day SCO Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kyrgyzstan capital, Bishkek. They were scheduled to meet in New York in September but New Delhi cancelled the meeting, citing ‘unclean intentions’ on Pakistan’s side as the reason.
Earlier in his address at the plenary session, Qureshi Shah linked Pakistan’s future with shared Pan-Asian prosperity and called for an institutional framework to meet common challenges – mainly terrorism, poverty and economy. He continued: “Enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive without good-faith diplomacy and result-oriented dialogue. READ MORE: UK PM May expected to declare resignation on Friday amid Brexit stall: Reports link
“South Asia, as part and parcel of SCO, lagged behind other regions in terms of regional cooperation, economic integration and connectivity that resulted in formidable challenges including poverty, illiteracy and disease.”
He added: “Pakistan has initiated work on Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims. The Shanghai Spirit was being reinforced through the Kartarpur Spirit.”
The FM presented a seven-point agenda focusing on confidence-building measures among member states including control on weapon race, establishment of joint fund and international framework to combat corruption and crime. He stressed the need for evolving a comprehensive international framework to fight white-collar crime. He said leveraging SCO’s institutional capacity could synergise various connectivity initiatives including Belt and Road Initiative, Economic Cooperation Organization, and Eurasian Economic Union.
He suggested strengthening the SCO Youth Council to promote cultural understanding and said Pakistan looked forward to joining the council soon. The FM said that as the leadership of SCO member states would meet in June, there was a need to discuss the challenges confronting sustainable growth, environment and collective security.
He said that SCO region representing 42 percent of humanity, 23 percent of world’s land mass, and 22 percent of global nominal gross domestic product was imbued with the ‘Shanghai Spirit’, aiming the way forward.
Qureshi said Pakistan was a product of centuries of amalgamation of foreign and local influences along with other SCO states that had been epicenters of civilisation.
He highlighted the fast-reaching fruition in shape of the transformational CPEC and said the geography of SCO region provided an opportunity for air, land and sea links connecting South with Central Asia, Middle East with China, Europe with the Far East, and Eurasia with the Sea. He said Pakistan condemned it in all forms and lauded the cooperation under THE SCO Regional Anti Terrorist Structure. He listed Pakistan’s feats in war on terror.
FM Qureshi also met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the summit and exchanged views on bilateral relations, security situation in the region and other important issues.
Chinese foreign minister was of the view that success of this forum was evident of international community’s confidence in China’s policies. SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov in his speech highlighted the objectives of the summit.