India invited to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Conclave : MEA – Sushma Swaraj will address

Sushma Swaraj

In a major shift from its stand on India, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has invited us for the first time, where the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the OIC Foreign Ministers conclave which is scheduled on March 1. This is the first time it has invited an Indian dignitary to attend, which was announced on 23rd February.

This follows the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution which condemned the Pulwama Attack in a resolution which was also supported by China and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had expressed solidarity on the attack.

The Foreign Minister is expected to talk about Pulwama attack in a push for a ban against the Jaish-e Mohammad and to act on Pakistan.

India has thanked the host United Arab Emirates for the invite and the Ministry of External Affairs said that it reflects on the growing friendly ties with UAE. This acknowledges the 185 million Muslim population in India and their contribution to the Islamic world.

It was a big diplomatic victory with the support of UAE in getting India, a non-muslim country to be invited to the meet.

India has been named as the guest of honour due to its important Islamic component.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE has extended the invite to India and it marks a major shift of the group of Islamic countries towards India.

This is in the backdrop of OIC resolutions on Kashmir supporting Pakistan and also has a specially designated Kashmir contact group led by Pakistan which rakes up Kashmir at the United Nations.

In the meanwhile, AIMIM leader and Hyderabad MP, Asaduddin Owaisi has criticised the government for accepting the invitation from the OIC, which calls Kashmir as India Occupied Kashmir.

India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and no third country will be allowed to discuss on the same.

India was part of the initial negotiations for the OIC in the 1960s, but it was never included in the 50-year-old group, mainly due to Pakistan’s opposition. Since 2018, there are calls for reforms in the OIC to include Non – Muslim countries and for granting India an observer status. Currently Thailand is the only Non-Muslim country from Asia as an Observer state.

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