India on Friday said that the abrogation of Article 370 of its Constitution was entirely its internal matter and that Pakistan must “stop terror to start talks”. India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin made the comments after a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Kashmir matter.
This was the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council had a meeting exclusively to discuss the Kashmir matter. The meeting ended without any outcome or statement from the council, PTI reported, quoting diplomatic officials.
“We’re committed to gradually removing all restrictions,” ANI quoted Akbaruddin as saying. “Since the change is internal to India, have not made any difference to our external orientation. India remains committed to ensure that the situation there [Jammu and Kashmir] remains calm and peaceful.”
He further said that the decisions were taken in Kashmir “to stop terrorists bleeding our people”. “Some trying to project an alarmist situation in Kashmir to propagate their ideology,” PTI quoted Akbaruddin as saying.
“Of particular concern is that one state is using terminology of ‘jihad’ against and promoting violence in India including by their leaders,” Akbaruddin said, according to ANI.
Akbaruddin said countries deal with each other in normal diplomatic ways. “That is the way to do it. But using terror to thrive and push your goals is not the way that normal states behave,” he said. “No democracy will acknowledge or accept talks when terror thrives. Stop terror, start talks.”
‘Passing off own statements as will of international community’
Commenting on remarks by the Chinese and Pakistani ambassadors after the meeting, Akbaruddin said, “For the first time after the end of Security Council consultations, we noted that two states who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community. National statements [trying] to masquerade as the will of the international community.”
After the meeting, Pakistan’s United Nations Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said it was not the “last step” taken by the country over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “This meeting nullifies India’s claims that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter of India,” journalist Wajahat S Khan quoted Lodhi as saying.
China had said that the United Nations Security Council members were deeply concerned about the situation in the region and hoped that the “relevant parties will exercise restraint and refrain from taking unilateral actions”. It also called upon the two countries to resolve the matter through dialogue.
“According to relevant Security Council resolutions, the status of Kashmir is undecided and it is an internationally-recognized disputed area,” a statement from Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said. “The Kashmir issue should be resolved properly through peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
Zhang also said that India’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir had also “challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreement”. “China is seriously concerned. He [Chinese Ambassador] emphasized that India’s action is not valid in relation to China and will not change China’s exercise of sovereignty and effective administrative jurisdiction over the relevant territory.”
Trump wants bilateral dialogue
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had a phone conversation with United States President Donald Trump on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. He said that Khan spoke to Trump about the Security Council meeting.
“Prime Minister Khan conveyed Pakistan’s concern on recent developments in Kashmir and the threat they pose to the regional peace,” Radio Pakistan quoted Qureshi as saying. The Pakistan foreign minister said that the conversation between the two was held in a cordial environment and that they would remain in touch over the Kashmir matter.
During the phone call, Trump “conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue”, the White House later said.
Before the meeting, Pakistan contacted four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and was “also trying to contact French President [Emmanuel Macron] so that his country understands our position”, Qureshi said, according to Hindustan Times.
Congress says ‘matter of great concern’
Before the meeting, the Congress on Friday blamed the Centre for it and called it a “diplomatic and strategic failure”. “We are extremely disturbed, indeed shocked, at what we see happening at the UN supposedly at 7.30 IST [Indian Standard Time],” ANI quoted Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi as saying. “We view it as a matter of great concern to the entire nation, to every citizen of India.”
Singhvi said that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region were “integral, inalienable, untouchable” parts of India and expressed shock that the matter was being internationalised after several decades. The Congress leader said that this was happening while External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was in China and alleged that diplomats were “being mollycoddled” while the country gave its support to the meeting on Kashmir.
“Under the nose of the Modi government, while hosting our Foreign Minister, Chinese gets this meeting organised,” Singhvi said. “I implore, besiege the Prime Minister not to remain silent and implore all our friends, anyone of them in the UNSC to have this meeting cancelled.”