Kashmir, India and the OIC

Kashmir, India and the OIC

Why in News?

  • Recently, India hit out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for making factually incorrect and unwarranted references to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers at Niamey, Niger, had made a reference to India over its policies on J&K.

What is the OIC?

  • The OIC — formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference — is the world’s second largest intergovernmental organisation after the UN, with a membership of 57 states.
  • The OIC’s stated objective is “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”.
  • OIC has reserved membership for Muslim-majority countries. Russia, Thailand, and a couple of other small countries have Observer status.

What is 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 1969, India was dis-invited from the Conference of Islamic Countries in Rabat, Morocco at Pakistan’s behest.
  • In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”.

What is the OIC’s stand on Kashmir?

  • 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.
  • These statements over the last three decades became an annual ritual, of little significance to India.
  • Last year, after India revoked Article 370 in Kashmir, Pakistan lobbied with the OIC for their condemnation of the move.
  • To Pakistan’s surprise, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — both top leaders among the Muslim countries — issued nuanced statements, and were not as harshly critical of New Delhi as Islamabad had hoped.
  • Over the last one year, Islamabad has tried to rouse sentiments among the Islamic countries, but only a handful of them — Turkey and Malaysia — publicly criticised India.
  • In 2019 Mecca summit as well, the OIC criticised the alleged Indian “atrocities” in the state.
  • In 2018, the OIC General Secretariat had “expressed strong condemnation of the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir”, 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”.
  • The 2017 session of the OIC Foreign Ministers had adopted a resolution “reaffirming the unwavering support for the Kashmiri people in their just cause”, and “expressing deep concern at atrocious human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces since 1947”.
  • At the 2018 meeting in Dhaka, however, “Jammu and Kashmir” figured in only one of 39 resolutions adopted, that too, along with 12 other states or regions worldwide.
  • Pakistan accused Bangladesh of circulating the text very late.

How has India been responding to such criticism?

  • India has consistently underlined that J&K is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India”.
  • It has maintained its “consistent and well known” stand that the OIC had no locus standi.
  • This time, India went a step ahead and said the grouping continues to allow itself to be used by a certain country “which has an abominable record on religious tolerance, radicalism and persecution of minorities”.

What is 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 looked up significantly in recent years.
  • The OIC includes two of India’s close neighbours, Bangladesh and Maldives.
  • Both countries privately admit they do not want to complicate their bilateral ties with India on Kashmir, but play along with OIC.

What is the significance of India’s latest statement?

  • India now sees the duality of the OIC untenable, since many of these countries have good bilateral ties and convey to India to ignore OIC statements — but sign off on the joint statements which are largely drafted by Pakistan.
  • With New Delhi preparing to take over a non-permanent member’s seat at the UN Security Council, it wants to use its diplomatic clout and goodwill to bury this issue at the global body in the next two years — and bring up the Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism high on agenda.


5 thoughts on “Kashmir, India and the OIC”

  1. Latwo byc przyjacielem dla kogos, kto jest twoim przyjacielem, ale byc przyjacielem dla kogos, kto uwaza sie za twego wroga – to kwintesencja prawdziwej religii. M. Gandhi.

  2. Trzeba miec, co sie chce! I trzeba zyc, jak sie chce! – Jerzy Pilch

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