February 25, 2019
7 months

Why in news?

India's External Affairs Minister has been invited to address the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) meet as the “Guest of Honour”.

What is OIC?

  • The OIC describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.
  • Its objective is to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world.
  • It is the 2nd largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the UN, with a membership of 57 states in 4 continents.
  • It has reserved its membership for Muslim-majority countries.
  • Russia, Thailand, and couple of other small countries have Observer status.
  • India is neither a member nor an observer.
  • The upcoming 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

What has OIC's stance on J&K issue been?

  • The OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir.
  • It has earlier even issued statements criticising the alleged Indian “atrocities” in the state.
  • The 2017 session of Council of OIC Foreign Ministers had adopted a resolution reaffirming the unwavering support for the Kashmiri people in their just cause.
  • Recently in December 2018 too, the OIC expressed strong condemnation of the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
  • It called upon the international community to play its role in order to reach a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Kashmir.

Why is the invite significant now?

  • This is the first-time invitation to India to be a Guest of Honour at the Plenary of the OIC.
  • At the 45th session of the Foreign Ministers’ Summit in 2018, host country Bangladesh noted that India had more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live.
  • Bangladesh thus proposed that India be given the Observer status, but Pakistan opposed the proposal.
  • So the present invite is a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos.
  • Especially, it comes at the time of heightened tensions with Pakistan following the Pulwama terrorist attack.
  • Hence, it is seen as a significant diplomatic victory for New Delhi.
  • It also signals India's improved ties with both Saudi and the UAE, and the Gulf region as a whole.
  • It indicates their desire to go beyond the bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level.

How does the future look?

  • The Abu Dhabi meeting would likely discuss on the issues regarding peace and stability in the Muslim world.
  • India's minster is expected to bring up the terrorist attacks in India in her address at the session.
  • Certainly, Pakistan would be making every effort to counter the objections raised against it by the OIC.
  • The stance that OIC would take on the Jammu and Kashmir issue in the current meet would be watched closely.
  • The meeting will thus have implications at a wider level in terms of diplomacy, regional relations, terrorism, etc.


Source: Indian Express

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