NEWS
16/01/2020 8:46 AM IST | Updated 16/01/2020 8:59 AM IST

India Slams Pakistan, China Pushes for Dialogue At Closed Door UNSC Meet On Kashmir

China had made the fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under “other matters” during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A small group of women under the banner of ‘Women of Kashmir’, hold placards during a peaceful protest in Srinagar, Kashmir, Oct. 15, 2019. 

While India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan for again trying to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council where it failed yet again to find any support, China warned against further escalation between the two countries.

China had made the fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under “other matters” during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room.

China’s UN ambassador expressed hope that the Security Council meeting would encourage both countries to seek a solution through dialogue.

Zhang Jun told several reporters after the closed meeting that China “has stated our position very clearly. We remain concern about the situation on the ground (in Kashmir).”

“I’m sure the meeting will be a help in both parties to understand the risk of further escalation and encourage them to approach to each other and to have dialogue and to seek means to seek solutions through dialogue,” Zhang said.

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Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because Wednesday’s meeting was closed, told the AssociatedPress that China wanted a review of the U.N. observer mission in Kashmir. But the overwhelming number of countries on the 15-member council urged de-escalation and said the dispute is bilateral and should be resolved by India and Pakistan.

Pak talks to UN Secretary-General

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters late Wednesday after meeting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that some measures taken by India after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 have caused heightened tensions and are threatening international peace and security in south Asia. The situation is “very delicate and could spin out of control,” he warned.

He said it was India — not Pakistan — that had refused talks.

“Pakistan has never shied away from a bilateral engagement, but unfortunately the Indians are not prepared to engage,” Qureshi said, noting that as soon as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power in August 2018, he made overtures to India which were unfortunately rebuffed.

The Pakistani minister said the fact that the Security Council discussed Kashmir for the second time in five months is a clear indication that the U.N.’s most powerful body recognises the issue is on their agenda — “and the impression that India tries to give that this is an internal matter is not correct.”

Qureshi said secretary-general Gutteres was concerned and knows “the issue cannot be shoved under the carpet.”

The UN chief’s spokesman said in a brief statement after the meeting that Guterres “reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia through political dialogue, diplomatic solutions and respect for human rights.”

Even though Security Council members said Kashmir should be discussed and resolved bilaterally, Qureshi said, ïf the issue is allowed to fester the way it is festering, then it can grow into a situation which is untenable and willy nilly they will have to step in.”

India’s reaction

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said: “We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in plain view of all others”.

“We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today,” Akbaruddin told PTI.

“We are glad that the effort was viewed as a distraction and it was pointed by many friends that bilateral mechanisms are available to raise and address issues that Pakistan may have in its ties with India,” he said.

Akbaruddin further said that “Pakistan’s practice of using false pretences to distract from addressing the malaise that afflicts it has run its course. We hope that Pakistan pays heed to the clear signals sent out here today and focusses on the hard tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India.”

The current move by China was the third such attempt since August when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.

In August, China pushed for a UNSC meeting on Kashmir after the government scrapped J-K’s special status. However, the meeting did not yield the desired results for China as the member-states maintained that India’s move was an internal issue.

Last month, France, the US, the UK and Russia pushed back against an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.

China has been critical of India’s reorganisation of J-K, and has particularly criticised New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh.