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March 25, 2019
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UAE, Saudi Arabia block OIC move to criticize India over Kashmir in Abu Dhabi Declaration

LONDON:  UAE and Saudi Arabia have blocked a move to criticize India over its atrocities in Occupied Kashmir in the final declaration of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recent meeting held in Abu Dhabi.

The Middle East Monitor, an online newspaper, claimed in its report that the invitation to India to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi was surprising for many. While it has long been demanding observer status in the OIC, few expected the Hindu majority state to be invited as a guest of honour, especially this year with the escalation of its long-running feud with Pakistan over Kashmir.

The report said as per Indian sources the Gulf states blocked Pakistan’s bid to issue a joint final statement criticising India over its Kashmir policy.

The MEMO while quoting Economic Times newspaper said that OIC had adopted separate resolutions on the Kashmir issue — terming it as the “core” dispute between India and Pakistan, however, the final Abu Dhabi Declaration failed to mention any reference to the hotly contested issue. Sources cited in the report said that it was the UAE and Saudi Arabia who played a pivotal role in ensuring India was not criticised or embarrassed by a joint statement.

The UAE, in particular, is reported as having ensured that India attended the meeting despite Islamabad’s objections. The OIC and UAE then resisted demands to include Kashmir in the final draft, despite relentless efforts by Pakistan’s delegation.

Diplomatic sources have also reported that that Indian delegation attempted to eliminate the Kashmir dispute from the OIC conference. Indian diplomats in Abu Dhabi are said to have worked tirelessly to shape the opinion of the OIC in India’s favour.

India has described the invitation to the OIC as “a milestone in [our] comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE”.