IORA’s Doors Still Shut For Pakistan: Despite Repeated Requests, Islamic Nation Unlikely To Get Membership

Swarajya Staff

Apr 10, 2019, 10:16 AM | Updated 10:16 AM IST

IORA summit (Representative image)
IORA summit (Representative image)

Despite repeatedly striving to become a member of the influential Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA), it seems highly unlikely that Pakistan is going to be offered a membership any time in the near future, reports WION.

Pakistan has sent dozens of requests to the secretariat of the IORA, but any positive development has eluded it so far. The primary reason for the same is its festered relationship with India, which is a major and founding member of the organisation, along with South Africa. As a result, its plea to be admitted into the grouping in not even put on the agenda.

A consensus is inevitable, if any new nation is to be inducted into the IORA, as a any single member country can veto any such move, without giving any reason. Maldives and Myanmar for instance had applied for a membership last year (2018) but while Maldives was welcomed, Myanmar's request was rejected due to concern over human rights violations expressed by South Africa.

All countries which share their shores with the Indian ocean can be a part of the body, which makes 25 countries as eligible. Barring Pakistan, Myanmar and Djibouti, all other such countries are active members of IORA, though Djibouti has never requested to be inducted into the grouping either.

Half of the world's container ships, one-third of the world's bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the world's oil shipments cross the Indian ocean annually, and thus being out of the IORA is a big strategic weakness for Pakistan, a symbol of its global isolation.

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