India rejects OIC offer on Kashmir visit, India-Pakistan debate mediation


India has reacted angrily to the proposal by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] — a 57-member bloc envisioned for the empowerment of majority-Muslim countries — to mediate negotiations between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and send a delegation to disputed Kashmir.

New Delhi’s reaction came on Thursday after a gathering between the OIC Secretary General Yousef al Othaimeen and India’s envoy to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed at the OIC office in Jeddah.

Both sides reviewed a variety of issues concerning things of Muslims in India, alongside the Kashmir dispute, and relevant UN and OIC resolutions opposing any unilateral actions on Kashmir, an OIC statement said.

The OIC Secretary-General expressed a desire to dispatch a delegation to India-administered Kashmir in line with relevant resolutions of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

Othaimeen also asked about the likelihood of a gathering between Pakistan and India, stating that OIC stands able to assist if the 2 parties would so request.

But, the proposal met an angry response from New Delhi.

“Our ambassador conveyed the necessity to correct a number of the misperceptions about India that are perpetrated by vested interests within the OIC,” said India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, The Hindu reported.

“Further, the OIC should be watchful that their platform isn’t subverted by these vested interests for comments on internal affairs of India or for anti-India propaganda through biased and one-sided resolutions.”

Bagchi said the meeting between Othaimeen and Sayeed was requested by the previous.

Pakistan rules out talks

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped two pieces of legislation that guaranteed Kashmir a semi-autonomous political status besides barring people outside of the region from buying land or applying for state jobs within the disputed region.

Since then tensions are high within the region albeit armies of both countries have silenced their guns on the road of Control or LoC that divides Kashmir.

In May, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out talks with India, saying they can’t happen until New Delhi restores the semi-autonomous status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

The two sides have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Rebels in Kashmir are fighting Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels, and government forces are killed within the conflict.

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was formed in 1994 to coordinate OIC policy on the Kashmir dispute and has Turkey, Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia as its five members.

There are 20 UN resolutions on Kashmir which include seeking a plebiscite within the disputed region to make a decision about its political future.

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