Abu Dhabi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses as ‘Guest of Honour’ at the 46th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi, Friday, March 1, 2019. (TWITTER/PTI Photo)  (PTI3_1_2019_000047B)
Abu Dhabi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses as ‘Guest of Honour’ at the 46th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi, Friday, March 1, 2019. (TWITTER/PTI Photo) (PTI3_1_2019_000047B)

New Delhi: The resolution passed by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Kashmir has turned out to be as surprising for New Delhi as was the invitation to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to address the Abu Dhabi conclave of the OIC as a guest of honour.

The Minister obliged the OIC by travelling to the Emirate and speaking at the event on last Friday. Yet, the country got a rude shock when OIC endorsed Pakistan’s standpoint vis-à-vis the troubled State on India’s border with Pakistan.

To clear the air around this diplomatic puzzle, The Free Press Journal spoke to Delhi-based West Asian affairs scholar Qamar Agha. And he pointed out the fact that mostly Arabian countries in the OIC are not so well disposed towards Iran and amid the Arab-Iran divide Pakistan has been positioning itself as a virtual outpost of Saudi Arabia and its cohorts in South Asia.

“Most West Asian Islamic oligarchies want Pakistan to play a larger role in the region to ring and contain Iran. And this can only be possible after reconciliation between Taliban and Afghan Government. The plan is to make Taliban to give up arms and join the Government in Kabul and Afghan provinces. This can be accomplished only through Pakistan’s help,” says Agha.

He indicates towards Taliban’s pathological hatred and ire because of which Shias among others have often been targeted in Afghanistan. The plight of Shias in Pakistan is also well known and, thus, a Pak-Afghan Sunni axis against predominantly Shiite Iran suits most other Islamic countries spread over Arabia.

Agha is of the view that once American troops pack off from Afghanistan Kabul can fall in near total control of Pakistan and Indian influence and goodwill with Afghan Government may get a jolt. This can be detrimental both for India and Iran. The Taliban zealots will come out from their hideouts to run their writ and Pakistan can easily turn them against both Iran and India.

New Delhi may have been aware of some of these possibilities but of late it has been cold towards Iran. This is despite the fact that Iranian troops too had suffered casualties around the time of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on CRPF personnel. Only Pakistan was behind both the audacious strikes, says Agha.

Thus, as per his assessment, the OIC fiasco could have well been averted had the External Affairs Ministry kept in mind the views of most OIC countries regarding Iran and the importance of Pakistan in their plan to fix Tehran before accepting the invitation to the Minister. The animosity that Taliban and Pakistan nurse against Iran and the Arab-Iran divide have been too palpable to be missed, remarks Agha.

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Free Press Journal

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