MUMBAI: Indian media reported on Wednesday that India has invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to a SCO summit that it is hosting in May, indicating a potential warming of ties between the nuclear-armed foes.
The offer came a few days after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif demanded that India and Pakistan hold negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Indian-occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
There were demonstrations on the streets of India just one month ago in response to remarks Bilawal made regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside of a UN Security Council meeting. The foreign minister’s remarks were deemed “uncivilised” by India.
When contacted for clarification regarding the media allegations that Bilawal had been invited to the SCO foreign ministers meeting being held in Goa, spokespersons for the two countries’ foreign ministries did not answer right away.
China, India, Russia, Pakistan, and four Central Asian nations make up the SCO. The Indian High Commission in Islamabad distributed the invitation.
If Pakistan agrees, Bilawal would travel to India for the first time in almost 12 years as its foreign minister.
Since 1947, when they gained independence from British rule, Pakistan and India have fought three wars. Two of the wars had their origins in the partitioned Kashmir area of the Himalayas.
India charges Pakistan with fomenting the long-running uprising in Kashmir, which is largely under its control. Pakistan refutes the charge made by India.
When India unilaterally abolished Kashmir’s autonomous status, tensions erupted once more in late 2019.The actions of New Delhi, according to PM Shehbaz, led to “flagrant” human rights breaches there.