Days after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said his the country has “learnt its lesson” after fighting three wars with India and now wants peace talks, New Delhi has reached out to Islamabad and extended an invitation for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa, The Indian Express has reported.
The report added that an invitation from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has been sent to his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the summit in early May. The dates for the summit has not been officially announced but it is likely to be held on May 4 and 5.
If the Pakistani foreign minister visits India, it will be the first such visit in 12 years, after Hina Rabbani Khar came to India on an official visit in July 2011.
“In keeping with its ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’, India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. India’s consistent position is that issues, if any, between India and Pakistan should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,”an official told The Express.
“The onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive environment. It has been made clear that India will not compromise on issues relating to national security and will take firm and decisive steps to deal with all attempts to undermine India’s security and territorial integrity,” the official added.
The foreign ministers of China and Pakistan have also been invited for a G20 meeting on March 1 and 2. From China, their new foreign minister Qin Gang will visit India twice in next few months.
For the last eight years, the relations between India and Pakistan have not been good. In 2015, India invited Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz but the visit was called off. In the same year, however, Sushma Swaraj, India’s then foreign minister, went to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference.
The terrorist attacks in Pathankot in 2016 and Pulwama in 2019 led to the worsening of ties. They also remained low as Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan was not ready to compromise on terrorism emanating from the country.