Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Current Affairs - 2019

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OIC appoints Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy for J&K

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) appointed Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia as its special envoy for Jammu & Kashmir. The decision was taken at the 14th OIC Summit held in the holy city of Makkah, in Saudi Arabia.

Key Highlights

  • The 57-member grouping approved Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
  • The OIC extended their support for people of Jammu and Kashmir and towards achievement of their legitimate rights. They called upon India to hold a referendum in J&K under the United Nations’ patronage.
  • This decision to appoint a special envoy for J&K was mainly was of OIC contact group on Kashmir and several of OIC members were not party to this decision and maintained a neutral stance on this issue.
  • Background: In March 2019 India was invited for the first time as the guest of honour for the plenary session of the OIC foreign ministers’ meet held in at Abu Dhabi (in UAE). On that occasion, Pakistan initially tried to ‘disinvite’ India and later used every session to defame India but failed to get Jammu and Kashmir’s issue mentioned in final joint declaration of plenary session because the hosts and Saudi Arabia tried to ensure that their guest (India) was not embarrassed and stood solidly behind the country. These developments came within three months of the same OIC foreign ministers’ meet even when some of the key OIC member states across continents have not been in favour of a strong position on Kashmir.
  • Reason: Due to the current complicated political situation in West Asia particularly the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran which is coupled with the dependence of some key nations in region on Pakistan Army against Houthis and Iran might have possibly prompted the 57-member OIC grouping to appoint a special envoy for Kashmir.

India invited as Guest of Honour for OIC Foreign Ministers Meet

For the first time, India would be attending the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers Meet. India will attend 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.

UAE’s Invitation for India

  • The host UAE has stated that the friendly country of India has been named as the guest of honour in view of its great global political stature as well as its time-honoured and deeply rooted cultural and historical legacy and its important Islamic component.
  • UAE’s invitation to India highlights the desire of the UAE to go beyond rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level.
  • The Invitation is seen as a milestone in the comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE.
  • The invitation is also 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.

Why the Invitation is a significant one?

The invitation has gained immense significance because of the timing. At a time when India is cornering Pakistan on all international forums due to its alleged role in Pulwama terror attack, the invitation by the OIC which was the biggest supporter of the Pakistan and Pakistan had blocked all efforts of India to engage with OIC. This invitation is seen as a signal of changing geopolitical dynamics.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) established in 1969 aims to provide a collective voice to the Muslim world and safeguard and protect interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony. Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, It has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.

India has about 12% of the world’s Muslim population. But India’s entry into the organisation has been blocked by Pakistan. The policies of OIC are largely pro-Pakistan and sees Kashmir as occupied by India.

Bangladesh has proposed to make India an observer in the forum. It could not be materialised due to resistance from Pakistan. The invitation to India signals a possible change in stance towards India.