Panaji: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived at Goa's Dabolim airport on Thursday morning to attend the two-day-long meeting of foreign ministers of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which begins in today in the coastal State

Lavrov, who was accompanied by a delegation is scheduled to hold a bilateral with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar later today.

Foreign ministers of China and Pakistan are among those who will attend this meeting in person. The ministers will discuss a range of important geopolitical issues, such as economic cooperation among SCO members and regional security.

Lavrov is expected to have several bilateral meetings with his counterparts with other SCO countries.

It is the second time this year that Lavrov is visiting India. Previously he had attended the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting in New Delhi this March.

India will also host a cultural event and a dinner this evening for its counterparts from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting which is slated for Friday is significant because it is taking place amid the backdrop of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, particularly in the aftermath of an alleged assassination attempt on Russian President Vladimir Putin, which Russia has blamed on Ukrainians.

The theme of India's Chairmanship of SCO in 2023 is 'Secure-SCO'. India attaches special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interactions in the region.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization established in 2001.

Prior to the Foreign Ministers' meeting, SCO Defence Ministers' meeting took place in New Delhi this April in which Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu took part and discussed the Russian defence industry's participation in the 'Make in India' initiative and ways to provide further impetus to it with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

The two sides also discussed a variety of topics related to bilateral defence cooperation, including industrial cooperation and military-to-military ties.

The ongoing engagement with SCO has helped India promote its relations with the countries in the region with which India has shared civilizational linkages, and is considered India's extended neighbourhood.