News Excerpt
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 on November 27-29 at Niamey, Niger, had made a reference to India over its policies on J&K.

•    The OIC — formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference — is the world’s second largest inter-governmental 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.

India’s Relationship with OIC
    In 1969, India was dis-invited from the Conference of Islamic Countries in Rabat, Morocco at Pakistan’s behest.
    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.
    In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”. 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.
    OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has issued statements criticising the alleged Indian actions in the state/Union Territory.
    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.
    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. Indian diplomats say both countries privately admit they do not want to complicate their bilateral ties with India on Kashmir, but play along with OIC.