India has given yet another diplomatic jolt on the Kashmir issue as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has succeeded in getting the level of participation for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting to discuss the Kashmir issue downgraded. Pakistani media had reported with brimming enthusiasm that the meeting would take place at the top level, that is, among the Foreign Ministers of the member countries.
However, in what comes as a massive embarrassment for Pakistan, it has been revealed by India Today that even after hectic negotiations all that Pakistan could manage was participation of parliamentarians of member nations at the meeting. What further reduces the relevance of this meeting is the fact that it is not going to be held at Riyadh, but in Pakistan.
This is in contrast to the assurance given by Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud to his Pakistani counterpart during his visit to Islamabad. India Today has now learnt that the lower level OIC meeting will be held in Pakistan and not Riyadh.
This is going to leave Pakistan’s Foreign Office red-faced as it said that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the CAA and the NRC and the “systematic targeting of minorities in India, particularly Muslims.” The statement had added, “two Foreign Ministers discussed OIC’s role in the advancement of the cause of Kashmir”.
It is pertinent to mention here that a high-level OIC meeting in Riyadh would have gone a long way in serving Pakistan’s ambitions of making an issue out of Kashmir. Saudi Arabia has traditionally dominated the Organisation of Islamic Countries, a powerful multilateral body to represent Muslims across the world. Pakistan has been pushing hard to ensure that Saudi Arabia agrees to a high-level meeting on Kashmir.
Saudi Arabia, however, shares strong ties with India. It is pertinent to mention here that Saudi Arabia has emerged as a major partner for India in the recent past. The present regime in Saudi Arabia has been highly supportive of India as far as the Kashmir issue is concerned. As per Indian sources, Saudi Arabia believes that Kashmir is India’s internal matter and whatever India is doing is in the betterment of its own population.
Imran Khan had even tried to oblige Saudi Arabia by cancelling his Malaysia visit under Saudi pressure even though he was scheduled to address the Kuala Lumpur Summit earlier this month. Saudi Arabia was opposed to the Kuala Lumpur Summit and even advised Malaysia to refrain from splitting Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and raising issues relating to Muslims at the Summit. In fact, Saudi King Salman has reaffirmed that such issues should be raised through the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) only.
For a moment, Pakistan must have thought that it had finally achieved some success after months of relentless Kashmir propaganda. But the watering down of the OIC meeting has only come as a major diplomatic shock to Pakistan. India has once again succeeded in defeating Pakistan at a diplomatic level on the Kashmir issue which manifests Modi government’s capability in securing and strengthening India’s interests in Kashmir.