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jaishankar-Bilawal Bhutto Talks in Tashkent? Kashmir on Cards as Pak Hopes for Meet on SCO Sidelines

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The upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conference in Tashkent in the last week of July may see a meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, top sources in the Pakistan government have told CNN-News18.

The sources say Pakistan, which is hopeful of the meeting on the sidelines of the SCO conference, is preparing a brief summary for its foreign minister on Kashmir and India and the interaction is likely to be held on July 27-28. Pakistan is also likely to raise the Kashmir issue at the SCO meet which will set up the SCO Heads of State Council meeting due to be held in Samarkhand on September 15-16 this year, where PM Modi is invited along with Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi, Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif and heads of Central Asian States.

CNN-News18 does not have confirmation about the Jaishankar-Bhutto meeting from New Delhi so far.


The talks, if held, come as yet another effort to resolve the tumultuous relationship between neighbours India and Pakistan.

Recently, Jaishankar — while speaking at the CNN News18 Town Hall — agreed to the need for neighbours to get along, but with a caveat. Responding to a question from the audience, he said: “The issue is not coming to the table, the issue is in what manner are you coming to the table. You are invited to this meeting, you came happily in your best clothes. I could also have gone to your house, put a gun to your head and brought you to this table. My problem is if a neighbour says I am going to do cross-border terrorism and that will bring you to the table, then I have a problem coming to the table.” He also blamed the support of the United States for several of India’s problems with Pakistan.


On Tuesday, the minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s determination that he would not allow cross-border terrorism to be normalised has helped in shaping India’s Pakistan policy since 2014. The minister highlighted that PM Modi looms large on the world stage as his policies and initiatives have had an impact.

 

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