NEW DELHI: India, for the first time, will attend a the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as “guest of honour” with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj invited to address the inaugural plenary of its council of ministers meeting next month.
Sushma Swaraj has been invited by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address the inaugural plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers slated to take place in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2.
The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement it was happy to accept the invitation which was 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.
“We 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,” the statement said.
“We see this invitation as the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level,” the statement said.
First time as Guest of Honour!
EAM @SushmaSwaraj will attend 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as 'Guest of Honour' to attend the Inaugural Plenary at the invitation of UAE Foreign Minister.
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) February 23, 2019
It said the invitation was “a milestone” in the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE.
“India is, therefore, happy to accept the invitation to attend the Inaugural Plenary of the OIC meeting and we thank the leadership of the UAE for their invitation,” the statement said.
Interestingly, Fakrudin Ali Ahmed as Indian representative was not allowed to attend the final session of OIC meet in 1969 in Rabat, Morocco at the behest of Pakistan’s President, Yahya Khan.