Delhi ( New Delhi)

Ahead of PM visit, Jaishankar goes to Tashkent

To prepare the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Uzbekistan in September this year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will be in Tashkent for two days starting Thursday to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and their Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto are also expected to attend the SCO meeting.

Jaishankar will have an opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with some of his counterparts including China’s Wang and Russia’s Lavrov.

Along with Wang, the meeting is expected to take stock of the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, and discussions with Lavrov are expected to revolve around defence and energy imports from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war.

On Jaishankar’s visit, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the foreign ministers’ meeting will deliberate on the SCO summit to be held on September 15-16 in Samarkand. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will visit Uzbekistan on 28-29 July to attend the meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers at the invitation of Vladimir Norov, Acting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan. in a statement. The meeting will discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Council of Heads of State in Samarkand on 15-16 September.

The External Affairs Minister said that the External Affairs Minister will review the ongoing cooperation in expanding the SCO and exchange views on regional and global developments of common concern.

Just ahead of the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting, India on Monday participated in a two-day conference hosted by Uzbekistan in its capital Tashkent to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Around 20 countries participated, India was represented by J P Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran).

India is in touch with several major powers on the situation in Afghanistan. Last month, New Delhi reestablished its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” to its embassy in the Afghan capital. In the last few months, India has sent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

In November last year, India hosted a regional dialogue on the situation in the country which was attended by the NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – some of them members of the SCO.

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