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‘No’ to meeting, Yes for ‘family photo’: Qureshi, Sushma clicked together at SCO

TAJIKISTAN: They may have cancelled bilateral meet in the wake of political tensions between their countries, but their presence in the same photoframe featuring leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was inevitable. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj are in the news again, but not for any hostile happening.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted the picture of SCO leaders and captioned it: “SCO family photograph – as they say picture speaks a thousand words! EAM @SushmaSwaraj with other leaders at #SCO Heads of Government Council Meeting in Dushanbe,”

“Geographic area of SCO has been an inspiration for physical, scientific, spiritual & cultural progress for the world,” he said.

The SCO is an eight-member security grouping including India, Pakistan, Russia and China that is seen as a counter to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Qureshi Sushma SCO

This the first time the foreign ministers of the two countries have shared a formal multilateral platform after Imran Khan-led PTI government came to power in August 2018. Both Ms Swaraj and Mr Qureshi are in Dushanbe to participate in the 17th Council of Heads of Government meeting of the grouping. India and Pakistan are the new members of the China-dominated regional grouping.

In last September, the two leaders had attended the informal luncheon meeting of the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) foreign ministers that takes place every year on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly Meeting (UNGA) in New York.

The SCO is the only other grouping other than the SAARC that has India and Pakistan as its members. The ties between India and Pakistan have gone into a deep freeze recently after alleged killing of three Indian soldiers in Occupied Kashmir, however, Pakistan refuted the Indian allegations over death of its three military men.

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