Defence Minister Khawaja Asif addressing the National Assembly. — National Assembly

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif addressing the National Assembly. — National Assembly

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif may attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers’ moot virtually, The News reported Wednesday citing sources.

Asif will participate in the two-day SCO moot via video link. The two-day gathering will begin tomorrow (April 27) in New Delhi.

Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu will make his maiden visit to India to attend the meeting, The Global Times reported.

According to the Chinese Defence Ministry, Li will take part in the SCO meeting from Thursday to Friday and will make a speech and meet with the head of delegations from other countries. The Russian defence minister will also attend the event.

The SCO defence ministers meeting will also include participation from two observer nations, Belarus and Iran, in addition to the member states.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from participating countries on the sidelines, the report stated. They will discuss regional peace and security, counter-terrorism efforts within the SCO and effective multilateralism.

Asif has opted to attend the regional moot virtually but his colleague Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto will attend the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Goa from May 4-5.

This would be the first trip by a Pakistan foreign minister to India since 2011.

The SCO is a multinational group founded in 2001. China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India are its members.

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