Goa, 4 May 2023 (TDI): Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, arrived at Goa airport earlier today to participate in the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The meeting is scheduled for two days (5–6 May). This meeting will be attended by the representatives of eight member states, along with the representatives of observer states as well.

Foreign Minister Zardari will be leading Pakistan’s delegation for the two days. The meeting aims to discuss the current economic situation in the region and explore ways to enhance cooperation among member states.

The representatives are expected to discuss important regional and international security issues. The signing of the various MoUs to foster ties between the participating states is also on the agenda of the meeting.

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In addition to his participation in the SCO meeting, Minister Zardari has also scheduled meetings with his counterpart from a friendly country on the sidelines. These meetings aim to further enhance bilateral relations and discuss issues of mutual concern.

The Foreign Minister shared his remarks, stating that he is happy to join CFM in Goa and is optimistic about this meeting being productive and fruitful in strengthening cooperation and promoting peace and stability in the region.

Pakistan’s participation in this meeting reflects its proactive approach to diplomacy and its determination to play a positive role as a responsible member of the SCO and achieve mutual goals while working with other member states.

Pakistan and the SCO: An Overview

As a multilateral forum and regional organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established in 2001 to counter terrorism, extremism, and separatism within the Eurasian region. Founding members, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and China, Pakistan, and India, joined in 2017.

Pakistan became an SCO observer in 2005, leading to permanent membership in 2017. Pakistan shares the vision of the SCO for regional security, development, and Peace.

As a member of the SCO, Pakistan has actively participated in various initiatives and programs aimed at promoting economic and cultural cooperation among member states. Additionally, Pakistan’s strategic location as a gateway to Central Asia makes it an important player in the SCO’s efforts to enhance connectivity and trade in the region.

Over the years, SCO has evolved from a consultative mechanism to a full-scale interstate cooperation and interregional organization. It covers 60% of the Eurasian landmass with a population of 3.2 billion and a quarter of the world’s global GDP, making it one of the largest regional organizations in the world. Being home to four nuclear powers, namely Russia, China, India, and Pakistan, also enhances its strategic importance.