OIC to boost defence cooperation

Many analysts believe that the session of the OIC should be taken as an opportunity to enhance mutual trade between the partner countries. Cumulatively the 57 countries and China make up for 42.5 percent of the global gross domestic product.

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The two-day meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states has begun in Islamabad. The current meeting is the 48th session of the OIC meeting of foreign ministers and will discuss the challenges of the Muslim world. The session is being held under the theme of ‘Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development. 46 of the 57 countries are represented by their respective foreign ministers, whereas the rest of the 11 are represented by senior officials or delegates.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan presented the keynote speech, and the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will chair the session that would deliberate on the way forward to promote unity and solidarity between the Muslim Ummah. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is also present as a special guest at the session. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today said that promoting unity within the ‘Muslim Ummah’ was one of the central pillars of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

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Many analysts believe that the session of the OIC should be taken as an opportunity to enhance mutual trade between the partner countries. Cumulatively the 57 countries and China make up for 42.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. Focus on trade enhancement would also help create better ties between the countries as it would encourage commercial activities in them. Analysts suggest that the countries should also look for trade agreements i.e, Transit trade, Preferential trade, and Free trade agreements, to bolster cooperation between the trading countries. The governments should work on soft image and ease the restrictions on the Visa regulations to promote intercultural travel. There is also a vast market potential for defense cooperation between the OIC member states.

Pakistan and Turkey have already committed to several defense agreements, with the latest development being the modernization of the Agosta 90B by Turkish firm STM. Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a delegation to Pakistan ahead of the OIC, and the Russian delegation is expected to attend the two-day session as an observer.

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The session also coincides with the 82nd resolution day ceremony, and after the conclusion of the two-day session, the ministers and delegates would be accompanied to the 23rd March parade to exhibit the 23rd March parade. According to local media, around 100 resolutions would be taken up in the two days of the OIC session. Although the agenda of the 48th session of Foreign Ministers is Afghanistan and the humanitarian crisis following the U.S withdrawal, the summit will also discuss developments in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and other regions. Pakistan is also expected to bring up the issue of Kashmir.

Pakistan has hosted many OIC summits and Foreign Ministers meetings. The second OIC summit was held in Lahore in 1974, following which it hosted the 1997 session of the summit in Islamabad. Pakistan has also hosted the CFM meetings on four different occasions, with the last one being in 2007. This CFM meeting comes after 15 years in Pakistan, and according to the country’s Foreign Minister, Pakistan is really grateful to be holding this session. 

Read More: India slams Pakistan for extending invitation to Kashmiri leader for OIC

India’s reaction:

Pakistan has also invited the Chairperson of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation council of foreign ministers. Indian external affair ministry’s spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, on Thursday slammed Pakistan for inviting Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, adding that “We have seen in India media reports regarding an invitation extended by the OIC secretary-general to the chairman of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to attend the 48th session of the OIC council of foreign ministers in Islamabad on March 22-23,”. The spokesperson added, “We do not expect the OIC to encourage the actors and organizations engaged in terrorism and anti-India activities”. Without pointing fingers, the MEA spokesperson said that it was regrettable that the OIC was being used as a tool to propagate the political agenda of a single country.


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