At OIC, Sushma Swaraj highlights India's diversity, slams Pakistan for its support to terror

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 01, 2019, 04.16 PM(IST)

File photo: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivering her address at the inauguration of two-day OIC meeting on Friday. Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

Highlighting India's diversity and coexistence while calling on the world to speak in one voice on the issue of terrorism, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Friday raised the issue as the main focus at the 46th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Minister meet.

Highlighting India's diversity and coexistence while calling on the world to speak in one voice on the issue of terrorism, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Friday raised the issue as the main focus at the 46th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Minister meet.

Carrying the "greetings" of 1.3 billion Indians including 185 million Muslim brothers and sisters, EAM said, "Our Muslim brothers and sisters are a microcosm of the diversity of India. They speak Tamil and Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi, Bangla and Bhojpuri or any of the numerous languages of India."

"They practice their respective beliefs and live in harmony with each other and with their non-Muslim brethren. It is this appreciation of diversity and co-existence, that has ensured that very few Muslims in India have fallen prey to the poisonous propaganda of radical and extremist ideologies, " she added.

Without naming Pakistan, EAM Sushma slammed the issue of terror emanating from the country. "If we want to save the humanity then we must tell the states who provide shelter and funding to the terrorists, to dismantle the infrastructure of the terrorist camps and stop providing funding and shelter to the terror organisations, based in their country, " she added.

She further quoted Quran, the founder Guru of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev and Rig Veda and highlighted that every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood. She said, "Terrorism and extremism" bear different names but in each case is driven by "distortion of religion" adding, "fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion"

She also underscored the long historical ties India has with the members of OIC. From ties with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia which are "important pillars" of India's Act East Policy to countries in the neighbourhood--Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives, from Iran with which India has "Civilisational and cultural links" to Iraq with which India has shared "Triumphs and trials" and countries in further to west like Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria with which India "shared desire for a more inclusive world" External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj talked about the ties will all OIC countries.

She thanked Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh and "others friends" for their strong support for "hearing India’s voice in this forum."

India is the guest of honour at the grouping's meeting, which is a first. The Indian presence is seen as a big diplomatic victory. India has been engaging with several Arab capitals with a number of high-level visits from West Asia to India and vice versa in the last four years.

PAKISTAN BOYCOTTS OIC OVER INDIAN PRESENCE

Meanwhile, Pakistan has officially announced that it will boycott the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers meet in Abu Dhabi over Indian presence. 

Speaking in the Pakistani Parliament, Pak Foreign Minister SM Qureshi said," I have decided, that I will not go to the foreign ministers meet. "

"Our lower level officials will be present to defend Pakistan’s resolution, in sure if someone tries to give India an observer status we can oppose it, " he added.

Islamabad has raised strong objections to OIC on India's presence.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi had written to OIC Secretary-General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al Othaimeen asking him that UAE should rescind invite to India or Islamabad will reconsider its decision to attend the meet in Abu Dhabi.

It is important to highlight, way back in 1969 the Indian delegation led by Congress leader Fakrudin Ali Ahmed, who later became the President of India, was not allowed to attend the final session of the OIC in Rabat, Morocco at the behest of Pakistan's then-president, Yahya Khan.

This time Pakistan's plea was not taken into consideration, which many will say shows Islamabad's growing isolation.

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