South Asia

Pakistan’s FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to attend regional meeting in India

Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in India next month, the Pakistani foreign ministry said on Thursday.

It will be the first visit by a top Pakistani government official to India in at least one decade.

Relations between the two neighbors have been intensified for years and they have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the SCO in the Indian state of Goa on May 4-5, the ministry said.

According to Reuters report, India has for years accused Pakistan of helping Islamist separatists who have battled Indian security forces in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s.

Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.

Violence in the region has eased recently although the neighbors have not sat down for talks on any major issues in years.

The SCO is an eight-member political and security bloc that includes Russia and China.