India for the first time attended a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) despite Pakistan boycotting the meet.
- The OIC is an international organisation that was formed in the year 1969.
- It has 57 members, of which 40 are Muslim majority countries.
- It’s stated objective is to protect the interests of Muslims of the world in order to promote peace and harmony.
India and OIC :
- Despite holding the third largest Muslim population in the world, India was never invited to any meeting of the OIC.
- It is majorly due to the staunch opposition from Pakistan to admit India into the organisation.
- Pakistan used the Organisation to oppose India’s rule in Jammu & Kashmir.
What Changed Now?
- For the first time since OIC came into existence, India attended a meet of the OIC.
- UAE the current chair of the OIC invited Minister of External Affairs, Ms. Sushma Swaraj to attend the 46th meeting of Foreign Ministers of OIC held in Abu Dhabi.
- This eventually led to Pakistan boycotting the meet.
- The significant shift in the policy of OIC from not considering India to inviting it is due to the changing geopolitics of the Middle East.
Geopolitics of Middle East and India :
- The geopolitics of the middle east is always on a flux. But, India with its economic and military clout has gained considerable ground among the nations of the middle east.
- Also, its independent foreign policy at times led it to take stands outside the purview of the big western nations.
- This and the large population of expatriate Indians in these countries further strengthened the role India plays in the middle east.
- But, the OIC invitation is majorly due to strong ties between India and UAE.
India and UAE Relations
- There are about 2.7 million migrant Indian workers in the UAE.
- Indians are the largest ethnic community in the UAE.
- The earlier relations between both countries were based on oil and gas trade.
- With UAE diversifying its economy, India is playing a major role in this transformation.
- The Indian trade with the middle east kingdom now involves IT, space, defence, manufacturing etc.
- The economic cooperation of both countries can be seen in the signing of a Currency Swap Agreement.
- UAE has also agreed to store oil in India’s strategic petroleum reserve at Padur, Karnataka.
- Both countries in the recent past have many high-level bilateral visits.
- Both countries are planning to elevate the ties to a strategic level.
- The bonhomie and friendship between the countries are what led to the invitation of India to OIC Meet.
At the Meet:-
- MEA Ms. Sushma Swaraj called the attending nations to act together against global terrorism.
Highlights of the day 1 of the #OICCFM46 holding in #AbuDhabi, #UAE. #OIC
— OIC (@OIC_OCI) March 2, 2019
- She said that the states that are providing shelter, funds, and infrastructure to terrorists must be urged to stop doing it.
What Is In OIC for India:-
- For India, attending an OIC Meet amid the heightened tensions between India and Pakistan is a diplomatic win for the country.
- This relation with the OIC must be continued and India should gain member status to the organisation.
- It will become one more important forum where India can showcase its diversity and equal treatment of all its citizens with their diverse religious believes.