Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

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    In News

    • India has lashed out at the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation for being “communal minded” amid the Karnataka hijab row.

    About

    • The OIC called upon the U.N. and the Human Rights Council to take “necessary measures” following reports of Muslim students being prevented from wearing hijab in Karnataka.
    • OIC had expressed deep concern over recent public calls for genocide of Muslims by the ‘Hindutva’ proponents in Haridwar in the state of Uttarakhand and reported incidents of harassment of Muslim women on social media sites 
    • This is not the first time that the OIC has commented on India’s internal matters. 
      • The OIC had asked India to reverse its decision of scrapping Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, during the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly.

    India’s response

    • Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity. 

    What is the OIC?

    • About:
      • The Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation is the world’s second-largest multilateral body after the UN.
      • It was established by the First Islamic Summit Conference held in Morocco in September 1969.
      • It was known as the Organisation of Islamic Conference until 2011
    • Objective: 
      • 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.
    • Members:
      • As of now, 57 members, all of them are Islamic countries or Muslim majority members.
      • The Central African Republic, Russia, Thailand, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the unrecognised Turkish Cypriot “state”, have Observer status.

    India & OIC

    • India has the world’s second-largest Muslim community, and had been invited to the founding conference at Rabat in 1969, but was humiliatingly ejected at Pakistan’s behest.
    • In 2006, as India turned the economic corner and improved ties with the US, Saudi Arabia invited Delhi to join as an observer.
    • However, India refrained from joining citing that it did not want to join an organisation founded on religion. Secondly, there was the risk that improving bilateral relations with individual member states would come under pressure in a grouping, especially on issues such as Kashmir.
    • The OIC is mainly controlled by Saudi Arabia, but Pakistan, as the only Islamic country with nuclear weapons, has had a large say since its inception.
    • Changing terms:
      • After building close ties with powerful members such as UAE and Saudi Arabia, India has been confident of riding over any statement by the grouping. 
      • 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”.
      • The OIC includes two of India’s close neighbours, Bangladesh and Maldives. Both countries privately admit they do not want to complicate their bilateral ties with India on Kashmir.
    • Significance of OIC for India:
      • OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
      • Individually, India has good relations with almost all member nations. Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

    Source: TH