“Terrorism and extremism have no religion,” said Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meet in Abu Dhabi. She said terrorism and extremism bear different names and labels and uses diverse causes. The meet comes at a time when tensions are at an all-time high between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
Swaraj said the fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. She acknowledged that Islam literally means peace. “Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood” she added. Ms Swaraj said India has found it easy to embrace pluralism as it is embedded in the oldest Sanskrit religious text. She highlighted that terrorism and extremism are driven by distortion of religion and a misguided belief in its power to succeed.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi boycotted the meeting. Qureshi took to his twitter account saying that “I will not attend the Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle for having extended invitation as a Guest of Honor to India.
The tense situation between India and Pakistan escalated further after the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot, Pakistan. Pakistan retaliated and downed two IAF jets within a couple of hours.
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In the process, they held an Indian pilot captive as he had ejected from his downed aircraft into Pakistan-administered-Kashmir. However, the situation has de-escalated as Pakistan has released the Indian pilot and urged India for ‘talks’. India has yet to accept.