Will Pakistani FM Bilawal Bhutto meet PM Modi during India's visit?

Will Pakistani FM Bilawal Bhutto meet PM Modi during India's visit?

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto has dismissed speculation surrounding his upcoming visit to India, stating that it should not be interpreted as a sign of improved bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries.

Bilawal Bhutto will be attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa next month, marking the first visit by a Pakistani foreign minister to India in almost a decade.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been fraught for many years, with the two nuclear-armed neighbours having fought three wars.

Speaking to Geo News on Thursday, Bhutto clarified that he had not requested a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He emphasized that the visit should be seen in the context of the SCO, which is an eight-member political and security bloc that includes Russia and China.

Bhutto stated that Pakistan is committed to the SCO charter, and that their participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s continued commitment to the SCO charter and process, as well as the importance that Pakistan places on the region in its foreign policy priorities. He also stressed that Pakistan cannot allow India to further isolate it.

State-run radio sources have reported that no request for a bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India has been made on this occasion. Bhutto’s visit marks the first time a top Pakistani official has visited India since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony in 2014.