What is OIC's stand on Kashmir, and how has India responded?

India Dec 18, 2020

First of all, what is OIC ?

  • The OIC is acronym for Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which is the world’s second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nation with a group of 57 member states formed in 1969. The objective of OIC is “to the safety and to protect the interests of the Muslims globally”. As well as they also promote international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • The membership in the OIC are reserved for countries with Muslim-majority. Countries like Russia, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria have only Observer status. And despite having the third-largest Muslim population country after Indonesia and Pakistan, India’s membership in the OIC is contested by Pakistan as it is one of the founding member of OIC.
  • OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and as well as OIC has expressed "a strong condemnation of the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian forces" with mention of the Indian occupied Kashmir, describing its as a “terrorist act”. These types of statements became an annual ritual of OIC over the last three decades.

Drama between OIC and India :-

  • In 1969, the Indian Ambassador Gurbachen Singh was sent as the representative to the First Islamic Summit in Rabat, Morocco in 1969. Pakistan opposed the membership of India in OIC which launched a scathing attack on New Delhi. And to date, India remains only a ‘prospective’ member of the OIC, much due to Pakistan’s opposition.
  • In the Second Islamic Summit 1974, Pakistan renounced from raising the Kashmir issue. During that period, Bangladesh was emerging as the second OIC member state in South Asia, and Pakistan faced criticism for committing atrocities against the Bengali speaking population in Bangladesh. Due to that, Pakistan’s credibility and its effort to internationalize the Kashmir issue suffered.
  • The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in 1990, India was first criticised for using force against Kashmiri civilians. To increase the cooperation between OIC members considering the situation in Kashmir and promoting ‘self-determination of Kashmiri people', a OIC Contact Group on Kashmir was subsequently formed in 1994.
  • At the 47th session of Council of Foreign Ministers a report was submitted referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which stated that "the decision of the Indian government on 5 August 2019 towards changing the demographic and geographic composition of Jammu and Kashmir territory, and the continuous blockade and restrictions together with human rights abuses, had awakened renewed efforts of the international community towards a resolution of the conflict" .

How was India's response to the issue?

  • The ministry responded to above statement saying that "We strongly and categorically reject the factually incorrect, gratuitous and unwarranted references to India in resolutions adopted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the 47th CFM Session in Niamey, Republic of Niger, held on 27-28 November 2020 " to be exact.
  • India also wants to challenge this issue because of the possibility that the Joe Biden administration in the US — which may have a strong view on human rights in Kashmir — may issue statements that may complicate India’s image at the global stage.
  • New Delhi is 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 its agenda.

This article has been written by Atharva Budrukkar for The Paradigm

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