Sunday 24 October 2021, 06:47 AM
Kashmir at the OIC meet
By D.C. Pathak | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 12/7/2020 11:13:55 AM
Kashmir at the OIC meet

In a striking development, the annual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the 57- member Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), held at Niger's capital Niamey on Nov 27-28, has unanimously recorded its disapproval of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution by our Parliament and the other steps taken by India in regard to Jammu and Kashmir since then. A resolution sponsored by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Pak Foreign Minister, who was known to have ceaselessly worked on Saudi Arabia and UAE leadership to get them to support Pakistan against India on Kashmir, said that 'the OIC categorically rejected illegal and unilateral actions taken by India since 5 August 2019' and demanded that India 'cancel the issuance of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris and amendments to land ownership laws'.

Geopolitically, this was meant to represent the stand of all Muslim majority countries of the world. The report of the Secretary General of OIC gave an international spin to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir by contending that 'the decision of the Indian government to change the demographic and geographic composition of the territory and the continuous blockade and restrictions together with human rights abuses, had awakened renewed efforts of the world community towards a resolution of the conflict'. To add to the impact of the Pak-driven resolution on Kashmir, the Niamey declaration 'reiterated the OIC's principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for a peaceful settlement in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions'. It may be mentioned that the President of the POK also attended the meet along with Qureshi.

As expected, India has promptly rejected the 'factually incorrect, gratuitous and unwarranted' OIC reference to Kashmir and regretted that Pakistan had been allowed to use the forum for its campaign against India. It seems Saudi Arabia did resist the concerted attempts of Pakistan, a founder member of OIC, to raise the subject of Kashmir on this platform and in deference to India, had kept this issue excluded from an otherwise comprehensive agenda of the Niger conference that covered a host of matters like Palestinian cause, fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, situation of Muslim minorities, case of Rohingyas and Isamophobia.

Interestingly, the theme of the conference was 'Unity against Terrorism for Peace and Development' that implicitly focused on Islamic radicalisation and put Pakistan in an unfavourable light in the eyes of the world outside because of its reputation as a country that fostered Islamic militant outfits. It is not surprising that the new group of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia that is accommodative in respect of radical groups like Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS and is getting increasingly recalcitrant towards the US, had assumed a high profile within OIC -- even showing willingness to question the Saudi leadership of the block. It appears that the resolution on Kashmir reflects an effort of Saudi Arabia and UAE to counterbalance the rise of ideological antipathy of the Islamic radicals against the US in the Muslim world -- which is something that would bother the Saudis. Saudi Arabia is definitely concerned with the spread of Islamic radicalism that was already targeting it and also with the role of countries like Yemen and Qatar in its neighbourhood. India has to convince the Saudi-led segment of OIC that India's move in Kashmir was meant to free that state of corruption and bring about its all-round development without discrimination of creed and region.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the alignments within the Muslim world sharpened during the Trump Presidency for the reasons that Donald Trump made his innate sense of intolerance towards radicals and extremists very clear and that he wanted his principal allies Saudi Arabia and UAE to have a peace pact with Israel. That such an accord did materialise also showed the Saudi awareness of the hostility that emanated from an Iran ruled by the Ayatollahs and the advantage that a friendly Israel brought to Saudi Arabia in this regard. India must have a close look at the geopolitical trends developing within the Muslim world -- because of the impact of US there, the Shia-Sunni divide and the enlargement of Sino-Pak friendship into a military alliance.

The regime change in US could have made the Saudi Arabia-UAE leadership keen on taking all members of OIC along by allowing the passage of a resolution on Kashmir -- an issue presented by Pakistan as a Muslim project. And this precisely is the point on which India must debunk the Pak lobby's effort to fault the handling of Kashmir by the Modi government. Kashmir is a territorial issue between India and Pakistan and a democratic dispensation of India cannot allow Pakistan to base its claim on the Muslim majority logic and, what is worse, try to have its way by infiltrating Mujahideen into the Valley from across the LOC to subvert it in the name of Jehad. Jammu and Kashmir is a border state of India to be defended by our armed forces against the aggression of the China-Pakistan military axis. The Biden administration has to be briefed at various levels on the character of the Kashmir issue and convinced of the growing contradiction between a rising Communist dictatorship that was in league with a state wedded to Islamic extremism and radicalism on one hand and the security of the democratic world led by US and India, on the other.

As India awaits the full exposition of Joe Biden's foreign policy as President, it has put in motion the right strategy of a three-pronged dimension -- renewed interactions with the US administration at various levels such as Intelligence, diplomacy and think-tank exchanges, outreach to India's neighbours to create a grid of understanding about the long range consequences of the vicious Sino-Pak combine and a close examination of the goings-on in the Muslim world in order to counter the machinations of Pakistan there. On the defence front, we have to do three things -- match the strength of PLA on the LAC to deal with any border violation, maintain a strong military build-up in Ladakh and pursue a punitive approach towards Pakistan on LOC. We must actively patrol the Indian Ocean besides joining up with QUAD exercises that were designed to keep the Indo-Pacific region safe from Chinese encroachments.

It may be noted that a former General of Pak army heads the CPEC -- the cementing bond between China and Pakistan whose main infrastructure is located on the disputed territory of POK. This is now within the reach of the Indian army deployed in Ladakh. India as a major power of Asia with a significant say in world affairs and global peace has come out of any inhibitions of the Cold War era and is now seeking bilateral or even multilateral relationships on consideration of mutual benefits in the economic and security spheres. Also, Indo-US strategic partnership is likely to remain strong under the Biden Presidency as it is a lasting requirement for both the countries. The report of USCC on China submitted to the US Congress has held Chinese 'planning' responsible for the Galwan incident and thus indicated American convergence with India on the latter's stand on LAC. China knows it has to reckon with a new India under Prime Minister Modi and cannot take this country for granted.

The OIC Foreign Ministers conference in Niger leaves no doubt about the plan of Pakistan to keep up crossborder terrorism against India in Kashmir and elsewhere and try to cover up for it by playing the card of Pan-Islamism. It knows it had a certain capability for exploiting the domestic scene of India that was beset with 'minority politics' and divisions of caste and region promoted by the anti-Modi parties. Far more than an external aggression, what threatens India is the combination of Pak proxies, anti-India lobbies within and outside the country and enemy agents out to create internal conflicts for destabilising this country. The liberal-left lobby joining hands with the separatists and practitioners of vote bank politics is trying to build a narrative for the opposition and this is finding some takers among human rights activists and Pak advocacy groups abroad who were propagating that the Modi regime was curbing peaceful protests and free speech in India. Internal Intelligence is becoming more important by the day -- fortunately our Intelligence agencies are well geared to their task and are able to keep the policy makers fully informed of the doings of disruptive forces on our soil.

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development,Ministers,member,Organisation,Islamic,Conference,OIC,Niamey,

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