Defence

Muslim countries with which India had increasingly good relations have become less friendly

A few weeks ago, India’s minister of foreign affairs, S Jaishankar, responding to a question from a journalist who asked whether India was losing friends because of some of its policies said: “Maybe weʼre getting to know who our friends really are”.

This response applies particularly well vis-à-vis the Muslim world. The clarification process is accelerating these days after the Organisation of the Islamic Conference condemned in a tweet on April 19, “the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity”.

At the same time Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of United Arab Emirates, citing tweets by Hindus living in the UAE, denounced those who were arraigning Muslims in her country.

But the clarification process had started earlier when Al Jazeera reported on the victims of the Delhi riots and even before, when Muslim countries reacted to the abolition of Article 370. Turkey held an international conference on Kashmir on November 21, 2019 — in which Pakistan Senator Sherry Rehman also participated.

Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan in early 2020 showed how consistent he had been into putting up with the cause of Kashmiris. Even before he visited New Delhi on May 1, 2017, he had called for a “multilateral-dialogue” towards a solution to the Kashmir problem, unlike what India has always stood for — bilateralism. India, just before Erdogan visit, had received the Cyprus President, engaged in a dispute with Ankara, in order to circumvent Erdogan in hardball diplomacy. Yet, Erdogan was unfazed by India’s posturing, and expressed the desire to be a “peace-maker” on Kashmir.

In his address to the Pakistan joint parliament session on February 14, Erdogan referred to Kashmir about half a dozen times in his 25 minutes long speech.

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Indian Express
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