India will work with OIC to build bridges of understanding

Abu Dhabi | India will work with the OIC to builda bridge of understanding and reduce barriers across cultures and religions and inspire youth to the path of service than of destruction, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured the group of the Islamic countries on Friday.

Swaraj, who is the first Indian minister to address the OIC meeting, said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has a huge responsibility and a great opportunity to lift the humanity to a higher level of peace and prosperity.

She said India, which is the world’s third-largest economy on Purchasing Power Parity and the fastest growing major economy, advocates moderation over extremism and pluralism over exclusion.

The OIC is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. India for the first time addressed the OIC meeting despite strong demand by Pakistan to rescind the invitation to Swaraj to address the grouping, which was turned down by the host UAE, resulting in Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotting the plenary.

“At 50, the OIC is making a new beginning. The choices you make, the direction you set, will have a profound impact on humanity.

“The OIC has a huge responsibility and a great opportunity to lift humanity to a higher level of peace and prosperity, and to make this planet a better place, not just for your people, but for rest of the world,” she said.

The External Affairs Minister said that India is prepared to share its market, resources, opportunities, and skills with its partners.

“We will do what we can within our capacity to ensure that the path to development remains open to all and the global trade regime is open, stable and fair,” she added.

“We will work with you to spread the true meaning and mission of all religions; promote respect for and between faiths; counter the language of hate with the message of harmony; advocate moderation over extremism and pluralism over exclusion.”

She said India will also inspire youth to the path of service, than of destruction; build bridge of understanding and reduce barriers across cultures and religions.

She said the OIC members constitute more than one-fourth of the members of the United Nations, and nearly a quarter of the humanity.

“It is an organisation, that has a key role in shaping our world. It brings together nations, on the foundation of a common faith, but also by a shared desire for a better future for their people,” Swaraj said.

“India shares much with them as many have experienced the dark days of colonialism. We have worked together, to fashion global institutions, into representative platforms, defined not by the interest of a few, but the voice of all sections of humanity.

“We have together struggled for a world, where access to resources, markets and opportunities is fair and balanced. And, with so many nations here, India has forged deep bonds of friendship and close partnerships, she added.

She said, nations to our east, Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are important pillars of India’s Act East Policy, and of our broader engagement in the Indo-Pacific Region.

“In our neighbourhood, with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives we have ties, forged in our shared struggles and sacrifices, in the immeasurable warmth of our hearts, and in our unwavering commitment to the security and prosperity of our people and region,” the minister said.

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