Qureshi, Swaraj likely to interact during SCO meeting in Kyrgyzstan
Islamabad: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and her Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj are likely to interact during the upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan later this month, a top Pakistani official said Thursday.
"The two foreign ministers would be present in the meeting and in all likelihood would interact amongst themselves and with other leaders," Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told the media here.
But he hastened to clarify that "no formal meeting is, however, envisaged".
The SCO Ministerial meeting will take place in Kyrgyzstan on May 21-22.
The economic and security grouping was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became its members in 2017.
In September, India called off a meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi at the UN citing the release of postal stamps "glorifying" a Kashmiri militant by Pakistan as one of the reasons.
The Indo-Pak tensions escalated in recent months after a terror attack in Pulwama by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14 and a subsequent aerial strike by India on a JeM training camp in Balakot on February 26.
On February 27, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated by unsuccessfully targeting several military installations in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the dogfight, Pakistan downed a MiG-21 Bison jet and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
Faisal also alleged that India was "causing an arms race in the region".
"India has been trying to bring the region into an arms race. Let me say that an increase in the defence budget is not the sole determinant of a nation's strength," he said.