New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Thursday left for Abu Dhabi to attend the foreign ministers' meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states, an influential grouping of 57 countries.
Swaraj will attend the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday. It is for the first time that India has been invited to an OIC meeting as guest of honour.
"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 and hold bilateral meetings," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
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 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 Swaraj as the 'guest of honour' to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.