Very unfortunate: Bangladesh minister on Pakistan’s absence at OIC

Speaking exclusively to India Today, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen emphasised that given India’s massive Muslim population, she should be a part of the OIC.

Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen

Momen also stressed on the need for “connectivity” in the economic sphere. (Photo: Twitter/@OIC_OCI

Bangladesh on Friday welcomed the decision of inviting India as ‘Guest of Honour’ at the 46th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC Council of Foreign Ministers held in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking exclusively to India Today, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen emphasised that given India’s massive Muslim population, she should be a part of the OIC. “India is a land of cultural, religious diversity and of tolerance. 1.85 million Muslims live in India so obviously they should be part of the OIC”, he said.

There was much talk about Pakistan’s absence at ministerial level at the conference. When asked, the Bangladeshi minister called it “unfortunate” and told Pakistan to “look beyond”.

He said that Pakistan should emulate what India and Bangladesh have done as neighbours.

“That is very unfortunate. I think it is time to look beyond. We should be mature. The relationship between Bangladesh and India has reached a height of maturity which other people should imitate”, he said.

There was a bilateral meeting that was held between the foreign ministers of Bangladesh and India where all issues of convergences and differences were discussed. Bangladesh raised the issue of the Rohingya.

“We had a good meeting. Issues of mutual interest wwere discussed. We have a few challenges. One challenge is the Rohingya issue. India is with us, they are supporting and helping us, they are also helping Myanmar in building infrastructure so that they can create a conducive environment in the Rakhine State so that the Rohingya people can go back”, he said.

Momen also stressed on the need for “connectivity” in the economic sphere.

“Economic is the other aspect. Connectivity is productivity. We have a long tradition of relationship of trust and confidence. We have opened up our borders and solved many major problems. Discussed new avenues of economic partnership”, he said regarding the meeting with EAM Sushma Swaraj.