New Delhi: When External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the inaugural plenary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi Friday, she will focus on India’s efforts to take counterterrorism measures to the next level.
She will also urge the world, especially the Islamic nations, to unite against the scourge of terrorism and extremism.
Swaraj has been invited as Guest of Honour by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
She is expected to bring to the attention of the OIC that India is suffering the perils of cross-border terrorism, and urge the OIC to support India’s efforts at the UN to have the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) adopted.
Swaraj is also expected to discuss the Pulwama terror attack and the role of Pakistan-based terrorist organisations during her bilateral meeting with the foreign minister of the UAE, which is going to take place on the sidelines of the OIC meet.
Impact of rising Indo-Pak tensions
India has been invited to the OIC after a span of exactly 50 years, having been invited to the body’s first-ever session in 1969. However, that event ended in a diplomatic disaster when the Indian delegation was asked to leave from the main venue due to stiff opposition from Pakistan, which had reservations about India attending the conference due to raging communal riots underway in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, at the time.
Five decades later, the situation is once again complex.
The invitation to speak at the OIC was extended to India on 23 February, but much has happened since then between India and Pakistan. Both sides are engaged in a bitter military stand-off over the role of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the killing of 40 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack two weeks ago.
The Indian Air Force launched a strike on JeM’s biggest terror camp located in Balakot, Pakistan, earlier this week. Pakistan responded by launching its fighter jets across the Line of Control. In the ensuing skirmish, IAF MiG-21s downed one Pakistani F-16 while India’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman fell on the other side of the LoC, where he was captured by the Pakistan Army. Pakistan has announced it is going release him Friday.
The OIC condemned the IAF’s actions and called it a “violation of the line of control between Pakistan and India against an OIC founding member state”.
“The OIC condemned the #Indian incursion and aerial violation and dropping of four bombs … It urged India and #Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that would endanger peace and security in the region,” the OIC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has questioned the invitation extended to India by the OIC. It has even said that it may not attend the OIC meet this year in the light of rising tensions between India and Pakistan.
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