India has an unpleasant history with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an organisation which is self-proclaimed voice of Muslims world over. At the behest of Pakistan, India was not able to attend the inaugural OIC meet in 1969 in Morocco, although India was invited. India’s membership in OIC, would have, refuted the two-nation theory which serves as the ideological base of Pakistan’s existence.
There seems to have been a change as India was recently invited as a Guest of Honour at the OIC meet in Abu Dhabi. Not surprisingly, Pakistan did not attend the meet as it protested to India’s presence.
OIC has been seen as a notorious organisation by many experts in India as it keeps issuing resolutions on Kashmir issue and also on situation of Muslims in India. Pakistan has always used OIC platform to internationalise the Kashmir issue, although it had agreed to solve issues bilaterally with India as per the Simla agreement in 1972.
While a lot has been written about OIC and India in last two weeks, nobody has highlighted the point that OIC needs to introspect before making a comment on Kashmir or situation of minorities in India. OIC has more to hide then to speak whenever it proclaims itself to be speaking for Muslims around the world.
Whether it is the Kurdish issue in Turkey or ill treatment of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, OIC has always been silent on these issues. It has never spoken about the suppression of Baloch nationalism by Pakistani military or the brutal crackdown on Uighur Muslims by China in Xinjiang.
This shows that OIC uses the Muslims issue for geopolitical considerations. Given India’s growing economic size, the OIC countries see this as an opportunity. In this sense, India does hold some leverage over OIC countries and needs to take a leaf out of China’s book. China has made sure that OIC should not be used to internationalise the Xinjiang problem, else there will be consequences. India should convey this point to OIC countries as cooperation is a two-way process.
There are many members of OIC which are sensitive to India’s security concerns and India should further strengthen relations with them so that they protest Pakistan sponsored anti-India resolutions at OIC in the future. It is a better strategy than seeking membership of OIC. India, being a secular country, is unlikely to make its pitch to be a member of OIC.