India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin on Tuesday said the country was ready to fight Pakistan in any arena of its choice, NDTV reported. He was responding to Pakistan’s comments that it would approach the International Court of Justice against the Narendra Modi-led administration’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
“Every country is entitled to use every course available to them,” Akbaruddin said. “We have different approaches too. If they would like to tackle us in different arenas, we will address it in that arena. This is an arena of their choice. They tried once, but they did not succeed.”
The diplomat was referring to the International Court of Justice’s recent order on former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. Jadhav was arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan for allegedly being an Indian spy.
In July, the international court concluded that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention in its treatment of Jadhav. It found that Pakistan had breached international laws by not providing India consular access to the former Navy officer, and ordered Islamabad not to execute him at the moment. However, the ICJ also rejected India’s demands for Jadhav to be released, and said instead that Pakistan would have to decide how to review the trial and conviction of the Indian.
India also played down the significance of a “closed-door” meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the developments in Jammu and Kashmir on August 16.
Akbaruddin called the lack of evident support for Pakistan at the UNSC meeting a snub to its stand on Kashmir. “What happened last week was an informal consultation, which actually made it quite clear to everyone that India’s approach enjoys broad support globally...We do hope that they will recalibrate, taking into account the outcome of that consultation,” he told NDTV.
China, a permanent member of the UNSC and an ally of Pakistan, had sought the meeting, which ended without any outcome or statement from the council. After the meeting Akbaruddin had accused Pakistan and China of attempting to impart greater significance to the meeting than was warranted.
On the talks between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and United States President Donald Trump, the diplomat said: “Look at the engagement we have with several countries, including the United States. This covers not just political ties but the entire expanse of our ties. The world looks at India as a country with which it can engage on issues. That’s our USP.”
Akbaruddin, however, refused to comment on remarks that India will soon push for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to be included in future bilateral talks. He said India will take matters step-by-step. “We abide by the bilateral track put in place by the Shimla Agreement, and I haven’t heard any response to this request. Is Pakistan interested in this bilateral track,” he questioned. “Let’s not jump the gun.”
India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, and moved to split the state into two Union Territories. The Centre also imposed a security lockdown and a communications blackout. New Delhi’s actions were swiftly condemned by Islamabad, which downgraded diplomatic ties and ended bilateral trade. Since then, Pakistan has attempted to raise the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, saying India’s decisions were a threat to regional and global peace.
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