External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressing the plenary session of OIC meet in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressing the plenary session of OIC meet in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

India forged close partnerships with OIC member nations: Swaraj

ANI | Updated: Mar 01, 2019 17:25 IST

Abu Dhabi [UAE], Mar 1 (ANI): Underlining the contributions made by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said that India forged "deep bonds of friendship and close partnerships" with these nations.
Addressing the plenary session of the conclave as the ‘Guest of Honour’ here, Swaraj said the OIC members constitute more than one-fourth of the members of the United Nations (UN), and, therefore, play a key role in shaping the world.
"We also express our special gratitude to Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and other friends for their strong support for hearing India’s voice in this forum," she said.
Swaraj underlined that OIC, which was founded 50 years ago, is making a new beginning, and the choices it makes and directions it sets 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 added.
Swaraj addressed the plenary session of the conference which was boycotted by Pakistan as a protest against the invitation to India for the first time in the grouping’s 50-year-old history.
Noting that the engagements with the OIC nations are robust and rapidly growing, the minister said that South-East Asian nations including, Brunei, Indonesia and, Malaysia, are important pillars of India’s Act East Policy and of New Delhi's broader engagement in the Indo-Pacific Region.
In its immediate neighbourhood, countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives, Swaraj said, have its ties forged in India's shared struggles and sacrifices and unwavering commitment to the security and prosperity of the people and region.
"In Central Asia, where human aspirations linked us across the mightiest mountains since ancient times, we are rebuilding our relationship along new routes of possibilities," she added.
Talking about Iran, with which India not only shares civilisational and cultural links, Swaraj underlined that partnership with Tehran is vital for stability and prosperity in the region.
Coming to West Asia, Swaraj said that India's solidarity with the aspirations of the Palestinian people have remained unwavering.
"Our international journey was often pursued in close partnership with Egypt. Iraq and India have stood together in our triumphs and trials. We have with great admiration supported Jordan’s efforts in strengthening the voices of moderation and building bridges of understanding between faiths," she further said.
The minister stated that India is imparting new momentum in its ties with Turkey, while she noted the historical, trade and cultural links with the Gulf nations.
"Presently, the Gulf Region is our largest market, supplier of energy and source of remittances. More than eight million Indians living in the region, are the eight million vibrant threads of this partnership. But now our relationship is much more than that, thanks to the extraordinary effort and attention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leadership of the region," Swaraj elaborated.
"It is an indispensable strategic and security partnership, and a natural economic partnership, of immense value, to our nations, and for our shared region," she said.
Coming to the African continent, Swaraj noted that with nations like Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, "we work for a shared desire for a more inclusive world."
"Today, on the foundations of that extraordinary heritage, India and Africa have launched a new partnership of prosperity in the dynamic African continent," Swaraj said.
Like India, she said, most of the OIC nations "experienced the dark days of colonialism", adding "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, dignity and equality of all people, regardless of race and religion," Swaraj said.
She further outlined that India and the OIC countries worked together to fashion global institutions into representative platforms defined not by the interest of a few but for 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," Swaraj said.
Underlining that the partnership with these nations have become stronger due to India's rapid economic growth, she further said, "We have excellent political ties marked by warmth, respect and goodwill. With many, we have expanding defence and security cooperation." (ANI)