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India and Pakistan to Come Face-to-Face at EU Indo-Pacific Forum in Sweden

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupJournalists watch live on a big screen at the media center, as Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar welcomes his Pakistan counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari prior to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) council of foreign ministers' meeting, in Goa, India, Friday, May 5, 2023.
Journalists watch live on a big screen at the media center, as Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar welcomes his Pakistan counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari prior to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) council of foreign ministers' meeting, in Goa, India, Friday, May 5, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.05.2023
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The Indo-Pacific region accounts for two-thirds of the global GDP growth and 70 per cent of the global trade, making it a critical region for the European Union (EU), which has often stated that the “future of the planet” will be decided there.
Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar and Pakistan’s Minister of State (MoS) foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will be attending the second EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm on Saturday, as per respective official statements.
According to a statement by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Friday, Khar will highlight Pakistan’s position on important regional and global issues as well as explore cooperation in areas of connectivity, technology, climate and environment, among other issues.
A statement by the Indian foreign ministry has also confirmed that Jaishankar will be participating in the EU-Indo Pacific meeting. The top Indian diplomat will also hold bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of several other countries on the sidelines of the conference, it said.
Earlier this month, Jaishankar and his Pakistani number, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Goa. It marked the first time in over 12 years that a Pakistani foreign minister visited India.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari leaves after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) council of foreign ministers' meeting, in Goa, India, Friday, May 5, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.05.2023
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However, no bilateral meeting took place between the two ministers, amid New Delhi’s concerns over Islamabad’s support for cross-border terrorism.
“There is only one issue to discuss on Kashmir which is when does Pakistan vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), that is the only issue up for discussion,” Jaishankar said at a press conference after the CFM meeting.
Jaishankar embarked on a three-nation visit to Bangladesh, Sweden and Belgium starting Thursday through 16 May. In Brussels, he will attend the inaugural ministerial meeting of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), scheduled to take place on 16 May.

EU-Indo Pacific Ministerial Forum

The EU-Indo Pacific meeting in Stockholm on Saturday is taking place under the Swedish presidency of the Council of European Union (EU), as per an official statement.
It will be co-chaired by Sweden’s foreign affairs minister Tobias Billström and EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
It will be attended by around 60 foreign ministers from the EU and the Indo-Pacific region.
Borrell earlier claimed that that the EU and Indo-Pacific countries have a “stake” in each other’s security and a “shared interest upholding the rules-based order,” as per the statement.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) conducts routine underway operations. Benfold is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.04.2023
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