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Kashmir Reference In OIC Meet

  • 1st December, 2020

Syllabus : Prelims GS Paper I : Current Events of National and International Importance.

Mains GS Paper II : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context: India rejected references to the country and the Kashmir issue in resolutions adopted at the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meet, describing them as factually incorrect, gratuitous and unwarranted.

oic-meetBackground: India strongly hit out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for making factually incorrect and unwarranted references to Jammu and Kashmir in resolutions adopted by the grouping at a meeting in Niger, and asserted that the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of the country.

In a strongly-worded statement, India advised the OIC to refrain from making such references in future and said it is regrettable that 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, without naming Pakistan.

In Detail

The 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC in its meeting on November 27-29 at Niamey in Niger had made a reference to India over its policies on Jammu and Kashmir.

On which, the Ministry of External Affairs has strongly and categorically reject the factually incorrect, gratuitous and unwarranted references to India in resolutions adopted by the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) at the 47th CFM Session in Niamey.

Ministry further added that, “We have always maintained that OIC has no locus standi in matters strictly internal to India including that of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India.

MEA saith that, It is regrettable that OIC continues to allow itself to be used by a certain country, which has an abominable record on religious tolerance, radicalism and persecution of minorities, to indulge in anti-India propaganda. It said India strongly advises the OIC to refrain from making such references in future.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

It is the world’s second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations, with a membership of 57states.

It was started with the objective of, 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 nations have Observer status in OIC.

India and The OIC

In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the Inaugural Plenary in Abu Dhabi on March, 2019, after having been invited by the UAE Foreign Minister.

The Ministry of External Affairs said then that the invitation was a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world.

This first-time invitation was seen as a diplomatic victory for New Delhi, especially at a time of heightened tensions with Pakistan following the Pulwama attack. Pakistan had opposed the invitation to India, even the Foreign Minister of Pakistan boycotted the plenary after the UAE turned down his demand to rescind the invitation.

At the 45th session of the Foreign Ministers’ Summit in 2018, Bangladesh was the host country, suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should begiven Observer status, but Pakistan opposed the proposal.

In 1969, India was disinvited from the Conference of Islamic Countries in Rabat, Morocco at Pakistan’s behest. Then Agriculture Minister Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was disinvited upon arrival in Morocco after Pakistan President Yahya Khan lobbied against Indian participation.

OIC’s Resolution on Kashmir

After the revocation of Article 370 and 35A, last year, Pakistan made full effort to lobbied against this move in almost all forums, including the OIC, but giving a strong surprise to the Pakistan, 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.

In the last one year, Islamabad has tried to rouse sentiments among the Islamic countries, but only a handful of them, like Turkey and Malaysia publicly criticised India.

The similar event had also took place in the 2019 meet of the OIC. 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, had figured 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. Even the resolution in Abu Dhabi, adopted the day after Sushma Swaraj spoke, condemned, atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir.

Conclusion

OIC's resolution on Kashmir, in the last few decades have become an annual ritual, and of little significance to India. Everybody knows that it has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has issued statements criticising the alleged Indian atrocities in the Union Territory.

The declaration reiterated OIC’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for a peaceful settlement in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

India is not surprised by this OIC documents contained customary references to Jammu and Kashmir but made it clear it was significant that the Kashmir issue wasn’t discussed as a separate agenda item at the meeting of the council of foreign ministers despite the pressure mounted by Pakistan.


Connecting the Article

Question for Prelims : With reference to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, consider the following statements:

1. It is the second largest organization in the world.
2. India has observer status at OIC.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question for Mains : India's growing relations with the Islamic world are playing an important role in isolating Pakistan. Discuss

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