Rejecting a resolution by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Jammu and Kashmir that referred to “Indian terrorism” and “mass blindings”, the External Affairs Ministry said its stand on the matter was “well known”.
The resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, another on the “India-Pakistan Peace Process” that praised Pakistan for its “efforts”, and a statement on “Muslim minorities” worldwide that called upon the Indian government to rebuild the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, came as an embarrassment for the government just a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had addressed the gathering .
“We reaffirm that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India,” the Ministry said in a statement here on Saturday after the conclusion of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi. The statement appreciated the invitation to Ms. Swaraj as a “historic gesture”.
Officials underplayed the statements and references to India, pointing out that there were no negative references to New Delhi in the “Abu Dhabi declaration” document, which is the main communiqué.
Sources told The Hindu that the other resolutions “don’t reflect or need a consensus” of the entire 57-nation group. “They are essentially national positions of individual countries, and often go unopposed,” an official said.
Foreign Minister of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah attempted to explain the statements from what he called a “positive angle”. “I think the OIC has sent a very clear and positive sign to India and looks forward to strengthening such a relationship to a point where we can embrace India one day at the OIC,” he said.
Even so, the language of the statements that were issued with Indian references are harsh, and while the OIC has regularly issued statements on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir that accuses Indian forces of atrocities, the statement on the “peace process between India-Pakistan” is unusual, not least given the tensions of the past week and the fact that there is no dialogue between the two countries at present.
In one para, the resolution “condemns the trend of unprecedented escalation of ceasefire violations by Indian occupation (sic) forces”.
In the resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the recommendations included an appeal to OIC members to “mobilise funds” for “humanitarian assistance to the Kashmiri people”.