With the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expressing concern over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India, a rare diplomatic gain New Delhi made early this year seems to be in peril.
As protests against the new citizenship law spread across the country, the OIC general secretariat based at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia expressed concern and said that it had been “closely following recent developments affecting Muslim minorities in India”.
The organisation expressed concern over not only the new citizenship law but also on the verdict of the Supreme Court in the case involving the Babri-Masjid-Ram-Janambhoomi dispute in Ayodhya.
The OIC also called upon New Delhi to ensure the safety of the minority Muslims, as well as protection of the Islamic holy places in India.
The statement by the OIC came nearly nine months after New Delhi had achieved rare diplomatic success in February-March this year when the 57-nation-bloc had brushed aside protest by its founding member Pakistan and had invited India to attend the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the organisation's Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi.
New Delhi had accepted the invitation, which had come amid tension between India and Pakistan over killing of more than 40 CRPF personnel in a terror attack at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on February 14 and a retaliatory strike by Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terror camp across the Line of Control between the two nations.
Sushma Swaraj, then External Affairs Minister, had attended the OIC meet on March 1, while her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi had boycotted it.
Sushma had tacitly called upon the OIC nations to step up pressure on Pakistan to dismantle terror camps and stop providing funding to terrorists so that they could not export terror to India.
Her participation and speech at the meet in Abu Dhabi had been highlighted by New Delhi as a diplomatic achievement, which had come almost fifty years after Pakistan had manipulated India out of a conference Morocco had hosted in September 1969 to give birth to the OIC.
Pakistan had since been using the OIC to slam India on the issue of Kashmir. New Delhi had been rejecting the OIC's statements stating that it had no locus standi on internal affairs of India.
New Delhi had welcomed the invitation to Sushma to attend the OIC meet in Abu Dhabi, terming it as a “recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world”.