The Foreign Ministers of China and Russia will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Goa on May 4 and 5, on key visits expected to lay the groundwork for Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to travel to India in early July.
China’s Foreign Ministry on May 2 confirmed Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s trip to Goa, which comes exactly two months after he travelled to New Delhi for the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, when he also had bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on the sidelines.
Last week, the Russian Foreign ministry had announced that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would also attend the SCO FM’s meet, which will prepare the way for the SCO summit, scheduled for July 3-4 this year.
According to the release issued in Moscow the ministers would discuss “drafts of the relevant documents and decisions” of the SCO grouping and have an exchange of views on “topical issues of the international and regional agenda”.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing said in a statement on Tuesday “State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will exchange views with other SCO member states’ foreign ministers on the international and regional situation and SCO cooperation in various fields, among other topics, to make full preparation for this year’s SCO summit.”
While Mr. Jaishankar had met with both Mr. Qin and Mr. Lavrov during the G-20 Foreign Minister’s meeting in March this year, all eyes will be on his interactions with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, who is also expected to arrive on May 4 in Goa. This is the first visit by a Pakistani Foreign Minister to India since 2011, although officials in both New Delhi and Islamabad have said the purpose of the visit is to attend the multilateral meeting of the SCO, and neither side has indicated they will hold bilateral talks.
Mr. Xi, the Chinese President, is likely to attend the July SCO summit in person, as well as also travel to India for the G-20 in September. Mr. Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Central Asian leaders are expected to attend the July summit.
The China and Russia led Eurasian security grouping also includes four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — while India and Pakistan were added to the group in 2017. Iran and Belarus are slated to be the next additions.