External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night to attend the 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The meet is a gathering consisting of 57 member states spread over four continents. Of them, 40 are Muslim-majority countries.
A significant honour for India
EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for Abu Dhabi for 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. For 1st time ever, India has been accorded 'Guest of Honour' status. EAM to address Inaugural Plenary & hold bilateral meetings. pic.twitter.com/cmYS2XMCMl
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) February 28, 2019
This is the first time India has been invited to a meeting of the OIC. India is neither the member nor an observer of the group, but India has been accorded “Guest of Honour” status. The invitation was opposed by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who boycotted the meeting over the invitation to the Indian minister.
Some takeaways from Swaraj’s speech at OIC:
- Swaraj opened her speech by saying: “I carry the greetings of 1.3 billion Indians, including more than 185 million Muslim brothers and sisters. Our Muslims brothers and sisters are a microcosm of the diversity of India itself.”
- India is one of the most diverse nations in the world. People of all faiths and religions live in harmony in India. It is perhaps because of our diversity that people have not taken a route of radicalization. People know how to live in harmony with each other.
- This menace [terrorism] cannot be stopped only through diplomatic and military means, we have to work within our communities.
- India shares much with you. Many of us have experienced the dark days of colonialism. Many of us saw, the light of freedom and the bright ray of hope at the same time. We have stood together in solidarity, in our quest for justice and dignity.
The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion & brotherhood
- Terrorism and extremism bear different names and labels. It uses diverse causes. But in each case, it is driven by distortion of religion, and a misguided belief in its power to succeed.
Swaraj ended her address at the OIC meeting with a quote by Confucius:
“If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations. When there is order in the nations, there will peace in the world.”
Picture Credits: India Today
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Sonakshi Goel is an intern with SheThePeople.TV