The gulf of sensitivity that India will have to cross

News: Over the past few days, the Islamic governments including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticized the Indian state regarding remarks made on the Prophet Mohammad.

Success of India’s Foreign Policy in this regard

Some Islamic states have not been swayed by Pakistan’s consistent portrayal of the Indian Government as fascist and anti-Muslim.

Despite criticism from OIC, the criticism has not been reflected in the member-states’ bilateral ties with India.

India’s relations with some significant Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have strengthened since last few years.

Implications on India’s Interests

It will lead the middle-east countries to do greater scrutiny of the Indian government’s policies towards the country’s Muslims.

It was a great offence that was constituted to all Muslims worldwide. Furthermore, it would be perceived as a disrespect towards the Prophet.

When the Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu was on a three-nation tour of Gabon, Senegal and Qatar, he faced embarrassment on foreign soil. For example, the ceremonial banquet of the Vice President’s host, the Deputy Amir of Qatar, was called off.

India’s Response

India has rejected the statements of the OIC and Pakistan for they reeked of political considerations.

What is the root cause of the problem?

The Indian intellectual tradition that has evolved after Independence does not pay sufficient attention to faith. It has led to a lack of knowledge of other religions, leading to misperceptions.

Way Forward

The governments of Islamic countries would not want their Foreign Policies on India to be determined by theological considerations. This is because they have an array of interests at stake in their India ties.

There is a distinction between criticising some social practices of Muslims and what is perceived to be an attack on the personality of the Prophet.

There is a need to foster an understanding in society at large of other faiths and their sensitivities. It is important for our multi-faith society at a time when religiosity is rising sharply across the world.

The Arab states and India have mutual interest. Therefore, all faiths should be respected. It is important for social harmony and promotions of India’s external interests.

Source: The post is based on an article “The gulf of sensitivity that India will have to cross” published in the “The Hindu” on 11th June 2022.

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