Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation & India

GS Paper – 2, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests

What’s the deal with being in the news?

In the midst of the Karnataka hijab controversy, India has slammed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for being “communal minded.”

What is the nature of the latest dispute between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and India?

Statement from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): The OIC has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to take “appropriate actions” in response to the problem of Muslim girl pupils being advised not to wear the hijab in Karnataka schools.

Furthermore, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asked India to “guarantee the safety, security, and well-being of the Muslim community while safeguarding their way of life.”

India’s Response: India said that it is a democracy, and that all matters inside the nation are addressed in line with our Constitutional structure and mechanisms, as well as with our democratic culture and political system.

India also attacked the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for being “communal minded” and “hijacked by vested interests” – an apparent dig at Pakistan.

In what capacity does the Organization of Islamic Cooperation function?


With a membership of 57 countries, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second biggest international organisation after the United Nations.

  • It speaks for the whole Muslim world as a collective voice.
  • As part of its mission to promote worldwide peace and harmony among people of all races and religions, it strives to preserve and protect the interests of Muslims across the world.
  • An Australian citizen, aged 28 at the time, committed an act of arson at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 1969, prompting the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Conference at the First Islamic Summit Conference in Morocco in September 1969. The conference sought to marshal the Islamic world in the aftermath of the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by an Australian citizen in 1969.
  • Headquarters are located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

What is the current state of India’s ties with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as an organisation?

India had been invited to the Rabat foundation meeting in 1969 as the country with the world’s second biggest Muslim community, but was humiliatingly removed at the insistence of Pakistan.

India remained absent for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • It did not want to be a part of an organisation that was built on religious principles.
  • There was a danger that developing bilateral relations with individual member nations would come under strain as a result of the group’s collective action, particularly on matters such as Kashmir.
  • At the 45th session of the Foreign Ministers’ Summit in 2018, Bangladesh, the host country, proposed that India, which is home to more than ten percent of the world’s Muslims, be granted Observer status, while Pakistan vehemently rejected the idea.
  • After establishing tight connections with influential members like as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, India has been confident in its ability to ride over any statement issued by the grouping.
  • India has constantly said that J&K is a “integral part of India and is a matter that is exclusively domestic to India,” and that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has no jurisdiction over the issue.
  • In 2019, India made its first appearance at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as a “guest of honour.”

Especially in light of the recent Pulwama assault, this first-time invitation was considered as a diplomatic coup for India, particularly in light of the heightened tensions with Pakistan.


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