The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. Member countries are Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Uganda, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mozambique, Syria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Chad, Tunisia, Guinea, Benin, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Togo, Libya, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Albania, Mauritania, Kuwait, Oman, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Qatar, Djibouti, Bahrain, Guyana, Comoros, Suriname, Brunei and Maldives. Organization also approved the major Muslim populated strategic countries as observer like Russia, Thailand and Bosnia. India also proposed several time for the status of observer country but was objected due to territorial disputes with neighboring country.
At outset, it was merely a political safeguard body for the collective interest of Muslim countries around the world but gradually cooperation policy is extended to commerce, industry, agriculture and food, transportation, communication and tourism, science and technology, and energy between the member countries and other nations of the world.
OIC countries have the potential inward & outward market for trade and business. Its importance can be better visualized through given table:
India has the historic, strategic, economical and cultural relationship with Gulf countries in particular and with other OIC countries. India is a leading trade partner of OIC countries particularly with UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Malaysia. Total trade with OIC countries during the year 2009-10 is reported 750554.55 Crore INR (Export 251898.18 and Import 498656.35 INR crore). India mainly export machinery, electrical, vehicles other than railway, iron and steel, pearls, plastics, cereals, aircraft, pharmaceutical products, animal products, cotton and aluminum products to OIC countries and imports mineral fuels, fertilizer, chemicals etc.
India’s one third share of total trade belongs to OIC member countries. UAE is the largest trade partner country of India globally and ranked at the top from last four consecutive years. Detail share of OIC countries with India’s trade is shown in given figure:
Now the trade relationship between India and the OIC countries has evolved from simply the import/export of oil with the Gulf and MENA region. The two have a more broad-based relationship with an aim to achieve trade diversification and economic cooperation. With India’s unprecedented economic growth and its expertise in the services sector, growing industrialization and technological knowledge base are likely to be of great use to OIC countries.