AS PRIME Minister Narendra Modi received visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the airport on Tuesday — for the second time in less than a year, signalling warmth in ties — New Delhi is looking to raise the issue of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s repeated statements on Kashmir with the visiting leader.
Sources in the government told The Indian Express that UAE is an influential voice in OIC, and India wants to impress upon the country’s top leadership that its statements on Kashmir are “counter-productive” and boosts morale of terror groups and pro-militant elements in the Valley.
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“We want to impress upon them during the visit that the same elements which were responsible for killing five of their (UAE’s) diplomats in Kandahar on earlier this month (January 10) are (also) responsible for the violence and terrorist activities in Kashmir,” a top government source said. “Through our conversations, we will tell them that such OIC declarations only strengthen the hands of those forces, which disrupt peace in the country.
“We understand some of these diplomats were friends and relatives of some of the members of the delegation…we hope they will be receptive to our concerns.” India had last year raised the issue of OIC’s stand on Kashmir when Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, whose country is also a key OIC member, visited India. But there has not been any visible change in Egypt’s stance at the OIC so far, officials said.
New Delhi’s public position has been that OIC countries had no locus standi in Kashmir, and senior officials have said there was a gap between what some of these countries convey to India in private and the stance of the organisation as such. Pakistan has been using the OIC to mobilise international opinion against India on the Kashmir issue.
Sources indicated that the UAE, among the first countries to have condemned the Pathankot terror attack last year, will make common cause once again on the terror attack at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir. A mention of the Kandahar terror attack, in which UAE diplomats were killed, is “highly expected” along with the Uri attack, a source privy to the drafting of the joint statement said.
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There is a distinct possibility of a reference to the “surgical strikes” in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir along the LoC, sources said.
New Delhi and Abu Dhabi will sign a Strategic Cooperation Agreement, along with more than a dozen pacts, on Wednesday after the talks between Modi and Al Nahyan. This includes one on $75 billion investment fund, committed by the UAE. Stressing that the decision to elevate the bilateral ties to strategic level had already been taken, MEA’s Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha said, “We are still signing an agreement which is more like an action plan, (and) which thrashes out of the idea of strategic partnership and brings out concrete idea of what both sides are committed to do.”
Modi and Al Nahyan will hold one-on-one meeting at the Prime Minister’s official residence before proceeding to Hyderabad House for delegation-level talks, Sinha said.
Emphasising that UAE has the largest sovereign fund and is looking at investment, Sinha said there was an agreement that the country would invest nearly $75 billion in India in the next couple of years. The visiting Crown Prince is the chief guest at the Republic Day function this year.
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