In a surprise move, India has invited Pakistan’s Foreign Minister (FM) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to attend an upcoming meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) scheduled to be held in Goa in May, The Indian Express has reported.

The invitation to the meeting of SCO ministers has been sent by the office of S Jaishankar, the Minister for External Affairs and has been forwarded by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Were Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to accept the invitation, the visit would mark the first visit of a Foreign Minister to India in 12 years. The last minister to visit the neighbouring country was Hina Rabbani Khar who travelled to India in July 2011.



The unexpected development comes a few weeks after Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif expressed hope that relations between the two arch rivals will improve. In an interview with a UAE-based media outlet, the Pakistani Premier asked for “sincere and serious” talks with India.

The SCO moot in Goa will also be attended by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.