NEW DELHI: In a diplomatic boost for India and major snub to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been invited to attend the Inaugural Plenary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers Meeting as a guest of honour on March 1 in Abu Dhabi.
With a membership of 57 countries spread over four continents, constituting 1.5 billion people and a combined GDP of about $7 trillion, the OIC is the second largest inter-governmental group after the United Nations.
But despite having the second-largest Muslim population in the world, India was denied membership of the group due to opposition, mainly from Pakistan. Though the OIC, egged on by Islamabad, officially endorses resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions of 1948 and 1949, India’s position on resolving the issue bilaterally with Pakistan has been gaining increasing acceptance among maember states.
Describing the invitation as a remarkable development and a great triumph for India, Talmiz Ahmad, who served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia twice as well as envoy to Oman and the UAE, said it “corrects a grievous wrong that was done to India.”
“We see this invitation as a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India... India is, therefore, happy to accept the invitation,” the MEA said.