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Sushma Swaraj departs for UAE for OIC meet


ANI Asia
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday left for a two-day visit to the UAE to attend the 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Swaraj will address the plenary of the two-day 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the 57-member body. She has been invited by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address the OIC meet.
"A significant honour for India. EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for Abu Dhabi for 46th Foreign Ministers Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. For first time ever, India has been accorded 'Guest of Honour' status. EAM to address Inaugural Plenary & hold bilateral meetings," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Swaraj, who will be attending as a 'Guest of Honour' despite Pakistan's objections, will underscore India's long and historical relationship with the OIC member countries, sources said on Thursday.
India considers its bilateral ties with the UAE as vital, the sources said.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has threatened to boycott the OIC meet if Swaraj participated.
Before Swaraj's departure, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the recent developments and urged the need for resumption of dialogue between the two countries.
"Mohamed bin Zayed makes telephone calls to Indian and Pakistani prime ministers, stresses importance of dealing wisely with recent developments and giving priority to dialogue and communication," read a tweet.
The Indian Air Force strike on Tuesday in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, destroyed a major terrorist training camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and eliminated a "large number" of terrorists, including top commanders.
On Wednesday morning, India foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to carry out strikes in Jammu and Kashmir by shooting down an F-16 fighter plane while losing its own MiG-21 jet after which a pilot was "missing in action".
Pakistan later acknowledged that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control, is in its custody.
On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the IAF pilot will be released tomorrow as a "peace gesture.

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 10:17 PM IST

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