External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Abu Dhabi to attend a conclave meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states, an influential grouping of 57 countries. This is for the first time that India has been invited to an OIC meeting as a guest of honour. Swaraj will address the plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday, March 1.
Taking to Twitter, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "Recognising India's engagement with the Islamic world. EAM SushmaSwaraj arrives in Abu Dhabi for the Ministerial Meeting of India has been invited by HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of UAE as the 'Guest of Honour'."
Swaraj has been invited by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address the OIC meeting. India's engagement with the OIC comes in the midst of escalating tension between India and Pakistan. The ties strained further after Indian fighter jets bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. Pakistan carried out a retaliatory aerial raid on Wednesday.
There were reports that Pakistan tried to get Ms Swaraj "disinvited" from the OIC meet following India's air strike on the terror camp in Pakistan.
The OIC had disinvited India from its conference in 1969 in Morocco at Pakistan's behest. The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Ms Swaraj as the "guest of honour" to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.