Abu Dhabi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj reached Abu Dhabi on Friday where she is scheduled to address the inaugural plenary session of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conclave as a guest of honour, during which she is likely to raise the terrorism issue.
Swaraj’s presence at the OIC conclave is in tandem with the efforts to strengthen relations with Arab and Muslim-majority countries. The EAM will also hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from the UAE and some other nations, as per reports.
“There is expected to be a reference to terror by the external affairs minister at OIC,” said a person on condition of anonymity. “We will attend. Don’t attach much importance to a statement put out by the (OIC) secretariat at the behest of Pakistan to deter us from attending,” the person added.
However, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he will not be attending Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle for having extended invitation as a Guest of Honour to Sushma Swaraj.
He even appealed to the UN General Secretary and Russia to play the role of a mediator to de-escalate tensions in South Asia. Qureshi also confirmed that Indian Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman will be released this afternoon via Wagah.
On an earlier occasion, the UAE had said that India is being invited as a guest of honour to the OIC meet because of its great global political stature as well as its time-honoured and deeply rooted cultural and historical legacy and its important Islamic component.
The external affairs ministry described the invitation as a “welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos.”
Pakistan, on the other hand, raised concerns over India’s participation in the event in the aftermath of the air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp at Balakot on Tuesday.
However, India is least concerned over Pakistan opposing its presence at the OIC conclave.
Meanwhile, India has launched a campaign to mount international pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terror groups operating from its soil in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 which claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the recent developments and urged the need for dialogue between the two countries, stated reports.