Swaraj, Qureshi sit next to each other at SCO meeting

Swaraj, Qureshi sit next to each other at SCO meeting

Bishkek, May 22: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday sat next to each other during a multilateral meeting here of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, amid strained ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Swaraj and Qureshi attended the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India was an observer at the SCO till 2005 and was granted the membership along with Pakistan in 2017.
Swaraj arrived in the Kyrgyz capital on Tuesday to attend the Foreign Ministers meeting.
According to the photos published by the Pakistani media, Swaraj and Qureshi were seen seated next to each other along with other foreign ministers.
Earlier in Islamabad prior to his departure, Qureshi said besides addressing the inaugural session of the regional forum, he would also hold meetings with his counterparts from other countries.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the February 14 Pulwama attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group which killed 40 CRPF personnel.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.