The joint declaration of the 48th session of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), a two-day affair that concluded in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 23 March, mentioned the word “Jammu and Kashmir” 13 times.
This “achievement”—as it has been termed by Pakistani diplomats, retired and serving—has prompted them to back-pat themselves and congratulate the OIC countries for taking a “principled” stand to support Pakistan’s narrative on the issue of Kashmir. However, the seriousness of such joint declarations, or rather the lack of it by the member countries, and how “anti-India” they are, as Pakistan would like to portray, can be gauged from their practical engagements vis-a-vis India.
The top five countries in this clubbing of 57 countries, by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at nominal price are Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Bangladesh. If one goes by the criteria of GDP (per capita), the top five countries are Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Northern Cyprus and Kuwait. Of these total 10 countries, UAE and Bangladesh occupy the 3rd and the 5th position when it comes to India’s top 10 export partners. Similarly, out of these 10 countries, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Indonesia come at 2nd, 4th, 8th and 10th positions respectively in the chart of India’s top 10 import partners.
Similarly, all the three arms of the Indian military have participated in either a bilateral or a multilateral exercise with many of these OIC member countries. With UAE, the Indian armed forces have, in recent times, participated in the Zayed Talwar Exercise and Desert Eagle, both bilateral exercises, apart from the multilateral exercise “Desert Flag VI”, where apart from the UAE, the other participating countries were Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, United States, France, South Korea and Greece.
Similarly, the Indian and the Indonesian military have participated in similar exercises including the 36th CORPAT exercise, Samudra Shakti, Passage Exercise and Garuda Shakti. India and Bangladesh, in recent times, have come together to participate in the Shantir Ogroshena exercise and the Bongosagar exercise.
With Oman, India has taken part in multiple military exercises that include Naseem Al Bahr, Al Nagah and Eastern Bridge exercise. So, while the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government, which is facing multiple political and economic issues, is likely to market this “achievement” to generate some sort of goodwill with the domestic audience, in reality, this joint declaration holds little value for any practical purpose.
Courtesy : Abhinandan Mishra