Pakistan diplomatic circles were jubilant as Islamabad claimed to score a big diplomatic victory over India. Days after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) appointed a special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, India fired back asserting that OIC had “no locus standi” over Indian states including Jammu and Kashmir.
Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia, an assistant secretary general of OIC, was among four special envoys appointed at the grouping’s summit meeting in Makkah on May 31.
The development came almost two months after former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj represented India for the first time at a meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi in March. At the time, Indian officials described her participation in the meet as a significant development in efforts to boost ties with West Asian states.
The 14th OIC Summit extended support to the “people of Jammu and Kashmir for the realisation of their legitimate right to self-determination, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions” and condemned “outbreaks of violence in the region”.
A communiqué issued after the summit called on India to implement UN Security Council resolutions to settle its “protracted conflict” with Pakistan and welcomed recommendations made in a UN report on Kashmir last year.
It called for setting up a UN commission of inquiry to investigate alleged rights violations in Kashmir and said the commission and global rights groups should be allowed to access Kashmir.
Reacting to the communiqué, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We categorically reject yet another unacceptable reference to matters internal to India in the Final Communiqué adopted at the conclusion of the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states held at Makkah, Saudi Arabia on May 31, 2019.”
He added, “The OIC has no locus standi in matters relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. It is reiterated that OIC should refrain from making such unwarranted references.”
People familiar with developments said India continued to be satisfied with the breakthrough made during Swaraj’s participation in the OIC meeting and would continue to engage with the grouping.
“There are pro-Pakistan members of OIC who will always rake up Kashmir. This is nothing new,” said an official who asked not to be named. The Indian government’s outreach to West Asia over the past five years is widely regarded as one of the successes of Modi’s foreign policy approach, the people noted.