Swaraj to attend SCO foreign ministers meet in Bishkek from Tuesday


PTI, May 20, 2019, 12:07 PM IST

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend a two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), beginning Tuesday, in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, during which several pressing issues including thread of terrorism are expected to be discussed.

The External Affairs Ministry said the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) will exchange views on topical issues of international and regional importance, besides reviewing the preparation for the SCO Summit in Bishkek from June 13-14.

“External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be representing India in the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to be held in Bishkek on May 21-22,” it said.

India became a full member of the the China-dominated grouping in 2017 and New Delhi’s entry has increased the bloc’s heft in regional geo-politics, besides giving it a pan-Asian hue.

India is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

“India actively took part in various SCO dialogue mechanisms under the Chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic over the past year,” the MEA said.

It said Swaraj’s programme in Bishkek will include a joint call of SCO Foreign Ministers on Kyrgyz President Sooranbay Jeenbekov. Last month, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the SCO Defence Ministers’ conclave in Bishkek.

India was an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

Along with India, Pakistan was also granted SCO membership in 2017. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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