Sushma likely to raise terrorism issue at OIC meet in UAE

March 01, 2019 11:45 am | Updated 11:47 am IST - Abu Dhabi

Sushma Swaraj addressing the UN General Assembly. File photo.

Sushma Swaraj addressing the UN General Assembly. File photo.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in Abu Dhabi to attend the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states where she is expected to raise the issue of terrorism, amidst Indo-Pak tensions following the Pulwama terror attack .

Ms. Swaraj will attend the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday. It is for the first time that India has been invited to a meeting of the OIC, an influential grouping of 57 Islamic countries, as the guest of honour.

India’s engagement with the OIC comes in the midst of escalating tension between India and Pakistan. The ties strained further after Indian fighter jets bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. Pakistan carried out a retaliatory aerial raid on Wednesday.

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj arrives in #AbuDhabi for the Ministerial Meeting of @OIC_OCI. India has been invited by HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE as the ‘Guest of Honour’,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Pakistan, a member of the OIC, tried to get Ms. Swaraj ‘disinvited’ from the Abu Dhabi meet following India’s air strike on the terror camp in Pakistan.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also be attending the meeting. Earlier he had said that he would boycott the meeting if Swaraj participates.

Mr. Qureshi on Thursday said the OIC is “our home” so he will go there but will not hold talks with Ms. Swaraj.

The OIC had disinvited India from its conference in 1969 in Morocco at Pakistan’s behest. The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Swaraj as the ‘guest of honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.

Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Forty CRPF soldiers were killed in the attack.

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