No Shake Hand, Only Namastey: Jaishankar Greets Zardari

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar greeted Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with a “Namastey” on Friday in Goa at a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Zardari is here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) and incidentally, the first Pakistani foreign minister to visit India in almost 12 years.
The two-day-long meeting of SCO member states began here on Thursday.

Visuals showed the Jaishankar greeting Zardari in Indian tradition with a “Namastey”, avoiding a handshake.

On his arrival in the coastal State yesterday Zardari had said he looks forward to constructive discussions with his counterparts from friendly countries.

The Pakistan minister was received at the airport by Indian diplomat JP Singh (Joint Secretary, Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk).

The Pakistan politician is attending the SCO conclave at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

“I am happy to arrive in Goa for participating in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. I am leading the Pakistan delegation at SCO and hope that the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) will be successful,” Zardari said in a video on Thursday shared by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

Ahead of Day Two of the SCO conclave foreign ministers of the member countries began to arrive at Taj Exotica venue and

Jaishankar also welcomed SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang to the Meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers.

On Thursday, Jaishankar held a meeting with Chinese counterpart Qin Gang. The discussions focussed on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring “peace and tranquillity” in the border areas.

“A detailed discussion with State Councillor and FM Qin Gang of China on our bilateral relationship. Focus remains on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace and tranquillity in the border areas. Also discussed SCO, G20 and BRICS,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, too folded hands and greeted his Indian counterpart, Jaishankar as he was welcomed for the Meeting of the SCO meeting.

Jaishankar and Lavrov had yesterday held bilateral talks.

Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were also received in Goa by the External Affairs Minister.

India hosted a cultural event on Thursday evening ahead of the main meeting on Friday.

The theme for India’s chairmanship of SCO in 2023 is ‘Secure-SCO’.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organisation established in 2001. The SCO has India, Russia, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its members. India took over the rotating presidency of the SCO at the summit held in Samarkand in 2022.

The last meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India took over the rotating presidency of the SCO at the Samarkand SCO Summit in 2022. (ANI)

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