UNSC chides Pakistan; Says J&K should be resolved bilaterally

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(Online Desk)

The UN Security Council on Wednesday chided another attempt by Pakistan to raise Kashmir at the body. It made it abundantly clear that the issues has to be resolved between India and Pakistan, bilaterally.  That’s been India’s position.  Interestingly, four of the five permanent members — the US, UK, France and Russia — firmly sided with India, which has become a practice since quite sometime.

In a tweet, India’s permanent representative TS Tirumurti to the UN said; “In today’s meeting of UN Security Council which was closed, informal, not recorded and without any outcome, almost all countries underlined that J&K was bilateral issue & did not deserve time and attention of Council.”

This was when Pakistan had sought a discussion on Kashmir — for the third time since last August.  In a letter to the Council, the Pakistan raised the issue which, as some diplomats said, “was match-fixed” to coincide with the anniversary of the revocation of the Article 370. And China, batting for its “all-weather friend”, made it happen as it had before, calling for a discussion under Ayn Other Business practice, which allows any member to raise an issue for discussion.

But they couldn’t fix the outcome. “They chose the date carefully but it proved to be a short-sighted move as everyone else came to India’s support,” said a UN diplomat ho had monitored the meeting closely. “Most members felt this needs to be resolved bilaterally and it does not deserve to come to be security council, and there was a sense that this was a waste of the body’s time.”

This time Pakistan and China had the support also of Indonesia, which holds UNSC’s rotational chair for August. Though Indonesia is among the few countries to side with Pakistan on Kashmir publicly, including Turkey, it may not have had a choice this time though, said another UN diplomat cautioning against smothering it with all the blame.“Once a P-5 member (China) called for discussing Kashmir under AOB, Indonesia was really in no position to prevent it.” Even China, a as a permanent member couldn’t prevent an AOB discussion on Hong Kong in May.

In the end, however, Indonesia came through for India, according to one of the diplomats cited above, as it agreed with others that the dispute needed to be resolved bilaterally.

This was an informal consultation that was held behind closed doors and no records were kept of who said what, which would have happened in a formal and open meeting. Pakistan has sought open and formal meetings of the council to grandstand its Kashmir case, but has had to settle for these closed-door version; now for the third time starting August 2019, shortly after the change in status of Kashmir.

The United States, United Kingdom, France and Russia — four of the permanent five countries called for bilateral resolution of the issues, as it Germany. Russia, in fact sought a resolution of the dispute in keeping with the Simla agreement and the Lahore declaration, said the above cited diplomat.

The rebuff of Pakistan was born of “less appetite” in the council for what is now widely recognized as a bilateral issue and “systematic” briefing preemptively of the members particularly on the “developmental front” over the last one year and also the “wrong narrative” put out by Pakistan on the domicile issue, in a an April letter to the UNSC.

Pakistan had tried to create an impression that under the new domicile rules released in march, people from all over the country will not descent upon Kashmir and change the demographics of the region. Indians briefed members on the rules, the different categories of who can and not settle there.

India was elected to the Security Council in June as a non-permanent member. And as is the practice it began receiving documents circulated to member countries from August and it will sit in on meetings from October purely in observer capacity in preparation for the start of its two-year term in January 2021.

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