New Delhi: Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang is set to participate in a meeting of foreign ministers from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in India, marking his second visit to the country in as many months.
The Chinese foreign ministry announced in Beijing that state councillor and foreign minister Qin will travel to Goa to “exchange views with other SCO member states’ foreign ministers on the international and regional situation and SCO cooperation in various fields, among other topics, to make full preparation for this year’s SCO summit”.
As a newly-appointed foreign minister, Qin had been here in New Delhi for the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting in March, which ended without a joint statement as China and Russia refused to endorse it due to differences over phrasing on Ukraine.
The SCO summit is scheduled to take place on July 3-4 in New Delhi. It is anticipated that Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in attendance at the meeting.
As part of the announcement for the visit, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that Qin would be travelling to Myanmar prior to his journey to India.
Incidentally, Pakistani media reported on Tuesday that the Chinese foreign minister would be travelling to Islamabad immediately after the Goa meeting. However, this was cited by diplomatic sources and Beijing did not make it public on Tuesday.
Foreign officials combining their visits to India with Pakistan has often been a sensitive matter for New Delhi. With Pakistan being China’s closest regional ally, it may have seemed a bit disconcerting if Qin made two visits to India, albeit for multilateral meetings, without even travelling to Islamabad once.
The Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would be taking travelling to India for the SCO meeting – an extremely rare visit by a Pakistani official in recent years. Besides, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov would also be again in Goa.