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When Islamabad tried to misuse OIC meet, New Delhi used Central Asia meet for collective efforts in Afghanistan

Source : Times Now

When Islamabad tried to misuse OIC meet, New Delhi used Central Asia meet for collective efforts in Afghanistan
Leaders from countries across the world converged in the capitals of Pakistan (below) and India (above) over the past few days to discuss Afghanistan and its path forward.



Leaders from countries across the world converged in the capitals of Pakistan and India over the past few days to discuss Afghanistan and its path forward. While the meeting in Islamabad ended with no concrete promises of financial assistance to the war-ravaged nation, the meeting in New Delhi seemed to put its money where the meeting was.

The meeting called for by India had a clear focus in both its attendance and its geographical spread. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the foreign minister of the five Central Asian states — Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. With him were Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

The impending economic and humanitarian disasters in Afghanistan and security concerns over terrorism were front and centre at the event. The New Delhi Dialogue concluded with a strong call for humanitarian support and assistance to Afghanistan and the need to prevent the country’s territory from being used for terrorism.

However, it is worth mentioning that the five Central Asian foreign ministers in attendance had chosen not to break their meeting in New Delhi to attend the extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that was, by many accounts, held ‘hurriedly’ in Islamabad.

The OIC meeting saw the participation of 57 countries — mostly Islamic nations but also global majors like the P5, Germany, Australia and others. The single largest outcome could be considered the agreement that the Islamic Development Bank would facilitate the disbursement of financial aid to Afghanistan. This would allow countries to send aid to the country without having to hand it over to the Taliban. Missing were any concrete pledges or assurances of actual aid, financial or otherwise.

The OIC meet as well as Pakistan eagerness to be seen in a ‘leadership role’ in the Muslim world stood as yet another reminder that the grouping has gradually moved away from being an Islamic platform to an outfit that some nations use to further their national interest.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan even used the stage to raise Kashmir once more and failed to get traction yet again in terming the issue a Muslim one. Islamabad has huffed and puffed at the OIC over this ever since the Indian government nullified Article 370 of the Constitution to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Leading nations (read rich) of the OIC, like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar have steered clear of any strong line on Kashmir. Instead, to Pakistan’s irritation, they have moved closer to India economically and strategically, while not mentioning Kashmir.

Pakistan also had other misfires in its efforts to get the OIC to take certain matters on its agenda. In its pitch on Kashmir, Khan clubbed it with Palestine, another issue that has been set to the side as an increasing number of Arab states normalise relations with Israel.

But the biggest fizzle as far as Islamabad is concerned would probably be that it failed to sell the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan. Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has taken part in the meeting, but there has been little movement on any nation formally recognising the Taliban.

Pakistan’s relationship with the OIC — both within the grouping and its own imagination — are becoming increasingly fraught, as member nations chose their self-interest over the Pakistani ideas of what is good for the Ummah. Right from the start, Pakistan’s belief that the OIC would allow it to take its imagined position as the leader of the Islamic world has run into the sort of persistent troubles that fiction runs into in a world of realpolitik. Even acquiring a nuclear bomb was not enough for the OIC as far as this goal was concerned.

The only thing that remains to be seen is how long it takes before Pakistan is forced to discard this fiction and accuse OIC of catastrophic failure. Even here, the precariousness of its economy may prevent it from lashing out at its benefactors around the Gulf.

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