With terror on agenda, Swaraj departs for SCO Foreign Ministers meet in Bishkek

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to discuss pressing issues, including the threat of terrorism and security of Afghanistan, as she embarked on Tuesday on a two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek to represent India in the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The May 21-22 meeting of 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, the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

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

Last month, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the SCO Defence Ministers’ conclave in Bishkek to further boost defence and security cooperation among the member countries in the wake of evolving security challenges in the region.

In addition, Swaraj’s Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also attend the meeting. However, it is not certain whether there will be any kind of engagement between the two leaders.

Experts believe that the SCO meet could provide an opportunity to India and Pakistan to explore the possibility of bilateral engagement.

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.