Current Affairs

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

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  • Categories
    World Affairs
  • Published
    13th Jun, 2022
  • Context

    India hit out at the OIC against the criticism of the country in the wake of the allegedly derogatory remarks made against Prophet Mohammad by two political faces.

    • India and OIC relations are referred to be good and such issue is a cause of concern of India’s international image.
  • Background

    • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was established to marshal the Islamic world after an act of arson at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
    • India, being second largest Muslim community in the world was invited in the inaugural conference but could not attain the conference because Pakistan’s objection.
    • In certain times OIC has intervened in the internal affairs of India, led to decline in diplomatic dialogues.
    • Later on, India has improved its bilateral relationship with other nations of the grouping.
    • In its 46th Conference India was also been invited as ‘guest of Honour’.
  • Analysis

    About OIC

    • The Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation is the world’s second largest multilateral body after the UN.
    • It counts 57 members, all of which are Islamic countries or Muslim majority members.
    • 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”. 
    • The Organisation of the Islamic Conference was established by the First Islamic Summit Conference held in Morocco in September 1969.
    • It claims to be the “collective voice of Muslim world’.
  • Objectives of OIC

    • The major objectives behind the establishment of OIC are:
      • Establish solidarity among member states
      • Support restoration of complete sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member states
      • Protect, defend and combat defamation of Islam
      • Prevent dissention in Muslim societies
      • Ensuring a collective stand of the member states at international fora.
    • The organization adheres to a charter, which lays down its objectives, principles and operating mechanism.
    • OIC has introduced Ten years Programme of Action (PoA), with the objectives of:
      • Combating all aspects of terrorism globally
      • Implementing social scheme to eliminate poverty
      • Establishing better economic cooperation among the member states and social growth.
  • Recent developments in India and OIC relations

    • At the 45thsession 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 the last few years, India has improved ties with the Islamic world from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, while building on good relations with countries like Qatar and Oman.
    • While it was Bangladesh that floated the idea of India becoming an observer at the OIC in 2018, the UAE invite offered India an opportunity to address the forum.
    • The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017, the first time that India laid out the Republic Day red carpet for a leader who was neither a Head of State nor Head of Government.
    • The Crown Prince MBZ had earlier visited India in February 2016, following a visit by Prime Minister to the UAE in August 2015.
    • India has consistently underlined that J&K is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India”, and that the OIC has no locus standi on the issue.
    • In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”, resembles the diplomatic victory for India over Pakistan’s deterrent moves.
  • Significance for India

    • OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
    • That India has one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, of course, is the immediate explanation of the surprising invite for Swaraj to address the OIC.
  • What are challenges ahead?

    • Religious grounds: India, being a secular state, with equal value and respect for every religion, has a dissenting stance on such groupings formed on religious ground.
    • Involvement in the internal matters: At various statements OIC had dissented on the fact of J&K being an integral part of India, which India believes to be a sole internal affair.
    • Pakistan’s deterrence: Pakistan’s move to bring bilateral issue in the international forum and moves against the India remains a potential challenge for India in the Islamic world.
    • Islamophobia: India has been criticised by the West Asian and Islam world countries on the grounds of Islamophobic policies.
    • Internal challenge: Rising instances of discrimination on religious grounds, mob lynching and insensitivity to other religions are some of the major hurdles that India is facing in the contemporary multi-faith society.
  • Conclusion

    Despite some potential challenges, there is a mutuality of interests between the Arab nations and India hence the flow of relations must go on. India should provide sufficient impetus to increase the sensitiveness to every faith, both for social harmony and external interests.

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