NEW DELHI: Maldives initiated move to oppose Pak’s rant against India at the recent Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meet in UN had other backers from within the body signalling India’s growing stature in the Islamic World.
ET has learnt that Saudi Arabia and UAE (once traditional Pak allies) backed the stand taken by Maldives signifying expanding ties between Delhi and Riyadh and Abu Dhabi respectively. Oman, India’s oldest strategic partner in the Gulf region, is believed to have stated at the meet that the discourse is part of India’s internal affairs, according to informed sources.
Number of other countries from OIC did not respond to Pakistan’s initiative led by its PR in the United Nations. Interestingly UAE’s decision to back India drew a backlash from Pak-based social media. UAE chaired the virtual meeting of the permanent representatives (PR) in UN of OIC member states that took place on 19 May.
Pakistan’s PR to UN, Munir Akram, wanted to form a “small informal working group” to take collective action against India at the United Nations in wake of the “rising” Islamophobia in India. However, UAE rejected this demand of Pakistan and stated that forming of any new working group will only happen after it has been approved by all the foreign ministers of OIC member countries.
Maldives, which, asserted that it was incorrect to single out India for promoting Islamophobia had alerted India ahead of the meet that Pakistan would rake the issue. This prompted India to launch diplomatic efforts to blunt Pakistan’s moves, ET has reliably learnt.
According to sources, Pakistan’s move was backed by Turkey as part of Ankara’s strategy to oppose Saudi-UAE dominance in the OIC. However, Malaysia which had earlier joined ranks with Turkey and formed an alliance of sorts to oppose the traditional influence of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the OIC did not back Pakistan with same vigour as in the past. Malaysian position has softened.
Under the former Malaysian PM, the Pakistan-Malaysia-Turkey triangle has utilised platforms including the UN last year to oppose India. Last December, Malaysia had organised an Islamic Conference despite opposition from Saudi Arabia. Pakistan, however, had backed out at the last moment following pressure from Riyadh.