PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto is currently in India to attend the two-day meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This is a major development as it is for the first time in 12 years that a Pakistani foreign minister has visited India.
Bilawal Bhutto’s visit to India has sparked a lot of traction in the political spheres in both India and Pakistan. The visit is seen as a major step towards possibly easing the rivalry between the two South Asian countries. However, Bilawal Bhutto has also garnered much criticism for the visit from home.
Friday, his uneasy interaction with India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar came under the negative spotlight. Jaishankar greeted Bilawal Bhutto in Goa at a conclave of the SCO, however, the top Indian diplomat’s body language towards Bilawal Bhutto has become a talking point and is being seen as an insult.
Read more: What led to the great divide of India and Pakistan?
Videos of the interaction are going viral on social media. The visuals showed the Jaishankar greeting Bilawal Bhutto in the Indian tradition with a “Namastey”, however, no handshake took place between the two dignitaries.
Furthermore, during the photo ops, Bilawal Bhutto and S Jaishankar can be seen awkwardly standing apart, which is in stark contrast to S Jaishankar’s pictures with other foreign diplomats.
Needless to say, questions are being heavily raised on S Jaishankar’s body language towards Bilawal Bhutto and it is being considered an insult for Pakistan. According to netizens, S Jaishankar as the host should not have treated Bilawal Bhutto with what is being considered “cold indifference”.
Namaste Diplomacy! SCO foreign ministers at SCO meet in Goa @WIONews pic.twitter.com/Tbq90Vvfqs
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) May 5, 2023
بلاول نے نمستے کا جواب بھی نمستے سے دیا پر جےشنکر کی باڈی لینگوئنج کہیں سے بھی ایک میزبان جیسی نہیں۔اگر میزبان کو پاکستان سے اتنی نفرت ہے تو شہنگائی تعاون تنظیم کے باقی ممبرز کو دیکھنا چاہئے۔ویڈیو ریلیز کرا کے اب پورے بھارت سے پاکستان کا مذاق اڑایا جا رہا
— Dr Arslan Khalid (@arslankhalid_m) May 5, 2023
No handshake either https://t.co/aA2zWUKOcz
— Maleeha Lodhi (@LodhiMaleeha) May 5, 2023
#India's EA Minister JaiShankar receives #Pakistan FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the arrival podium ahead of the commencement of the SCO CFM.
NO Handshakes between both. Dr Jai Shankar does Namaste to Pakistani FM. #SCO2023 pic.twitter.com/7N4hHi6PyK
— Conflict Watch PSF (@AmRaadPSF) May 5, 2023
Important to note the body language of S Jaishankar. Apart from photo-op, hardly an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s foreign minister Zardari presence by India 😇 https://t.co/8zJ4bEmDpC
— Munish Pandey (@MunishPandeyy) May 5, 2023
FLASH: Union foreign minister S Jaishankar welcomes Pakistan counterpart Bilawal Bhutto for SCO Foreign Ministers' meet in Goa
The difference in Indian EAM’s welcome demeanour to Bilawal & Russia FM is anybody’s guess
Report Urvashi Khona & Sumit Kumarpic.twitter.com/b2QGNSj1jJ
— Rohan Dua (@rohanduaT02) May 5, 2023
No formal Pakistan- India talks,,,,
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari @BBhuttoZardari and Indian External Affairs Minister S JaiShankar @DrSJaishankar in a formal picture at GOA SCO CFM pic.twitter.com/pvNakPvNFI
— Naveed Akbar (@naveedakbarch) May 5, 2023
On the other hand, Bilawal Bhutto’s visit to India has been heavily criticized in Pakistan, especially by the PDM coalition’s political rival PTI. While slamming Bilawal for visiting India, PTI leaders accused him of ignoring the Modi government’s atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK). They also accused the young foreign minister of appeasing the US by visiting India, since both countries share strong ties.
Read more: PTI leaders slam FM Bilawal for visiting India