OIC’s Proposal on India and Pakistan
Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) proposal to assist a dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Earlier in December 2020, India also rejected the criticism of its Kashmir policy by the OIC.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
• It is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations (UN) with a membership of 57 states.
• It is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
• India is not a member of the OIC.
• It was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco in September 1969.
• Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
• Offered to arrange a meeting between India and Pakistan and proposed to send a delegation to Jammu & Kashmir in line with resolutions of the OIC council of foreign ministers.
• Pakistan has repeatedly sought to raise the Kashmir issue at the OIC against the backdrop of India’s dramatically improved relations with several key players in West Asia and in the Islamic organisation, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
• The OIC should be watchful that their platform is not subverted by “vested interests” such as Pakistan to interfere in internal affairs of India or for anti-India propaganda through biased and one-sided resolutions.
India’s relationship with OIC as an organisation:
• At the 45th session of the Foreign Ministers’ Summit in 2018, Bangladesh, the host, suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should be given Observer status, but Pakistan opposed the proposal.
• In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”.
• This first-time invitation was seen as a diplomatic victory for India, especially at a time of heightened tensions with Pakistan following the Pulwama attack.
Criticism of India’s Policies by OIC:
• It has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has issued statements criticising the alleged Indian “atrocities” in the state/Union Territory.
• In 2018, the OIC General Secretariat had “expressed strong condemnation of the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir”.
• It described the “direct shooting at demonstrators” as a “terrorist act”, and “called upon the international community to play its role in order to reach a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Kashmir”.
• OIC has criticised the Government of India over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the Babri Masjid verdict of the Supreme Court.
• OIC has also criticised the Indian government for what it called “growing Islamophobia” in India.
• India has always maintained that OIC has no locus standi in matters strictly internal to India including that of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India.
India’s relationship with OIC member countries:
• Individually, India has good relations with almost all member nations.
• Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, especially, have improved significantly in recent years.
• The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (UAE) was a special chief guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017.
• The OIC includes two of India’s close neighbours, Bangladesh and Maldives.
• Indian diplomats say both countries privately admit that they do not want to complicate their bilateral ties with India on Kashmir.