Pakistan’s foreign minister to attend regional meeting in India


New Delhi (Reuters) – Pakistan’s foreign minister will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in India next month, his ministry said on Thursday, in what will be the first visit by a top Pakistani government official to India in nearly a decade.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been fraught for years and they have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the SCO in the Indian state of Goa on May 4-5, the ministry said.

It will be the first visit to India by a top Pakistani since then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in in 2014.

Bhutto-Zardari is the son of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a former president, Asif Ali Zardari.

India has for years accused Pakistan of helping Islamist separatists who have battled Indian security forces in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s.

Pakistan denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.

Violence in the region has eased recently although the neighbours have not sat down for talks on any major issues in years.

The SCO is an eight-member political and security bloc that includes Russia and China.

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