Sushma Swaraj to attend Islamic cooperation meet in Abu Dhabi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2019 Published on February 28, 2019

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Meet in Abu Dhabi on Friday as guest of honour as the UAE government has confirmed that she will be received with full diplomatic protocol and honour despite Pakistan’s threat to boycott the conclave, a government official has said.

“The UAE has assured India that it is looking forward to the Foreign Minister’s participation in the meet and has said that she will be received with full diplomatic protocol and honour. This is a reflection of India’s close relationship with the UAE and other members of the OIC,” the official pointed out.

The OIC, with 57 members, including 40 from Muslim majority countries, projects itself as the collective voice of the Islamic world with the objective of safeguarding and protecting its members’ interests in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

Swaraj was invited to participate in the inaugural session of the OIC meet on March 1-2 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE, before the tension between India and Pakistan broke out this week. Swaraj had accepted the invitation.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, however, reportedly said on Thursday that he would boycott the OIC meet if Swaraj participated. “The fact that Swaraj is going ahead with her visit despite Qureshi’s threat is a diplomatic win for India,” another official said.

The OIC, founded in 1969, has invited India to participate in its plenary session for the first time, according to officials.

“The kind of relations that India has developed in the Middle East and the Gulf states is the result of sustained diplomatic effort from India’s side,” said former diplomat TCA Raghavan.

“We see this invitation as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE. We also see this invitation as a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India's contribution to the Islamic world,” according to a statement from the MEA.

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Published on February 28, 2019
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