Former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Friday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the withdrawal of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution had led to India being isolated from the international community, even by its traditional allies, the Hindustan Times reported.
“There has been no meaningful international support for this series of actions, apart from a few committed members of the diaspora and a ragtag bunch of Euro MPs from the extreme right,” Menon said at an event in New Delhi. He said many world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and even King Harald V of Norway have criticised India’s actions.
Merkel had on November 1, during a visit to India, said that the present situation in Kashmir is “not sustainable”.
“We seem to know that we are isolated,” Menon said, referring to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s decision to skip a meeting with the foreign affairs committee in the United States due to the presence of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has been critical of India’s actions in Kashmir.
Menon added that Jayapal’s resolution on Kashmir, urging India to end the communications blockade as quickly as possible, and ensure religious freedom for all, had been now has 29 co-sponsors, including Republican Party members. He said this list includes the only Indian-origin lawmaker who attended the Howdy Modi conference in September, Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Menon said that India was violating Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it had signed, by passing the Citizenship Amendment Act. “We seem to be in violation of our international commitments,” he said. “You must consider the political and other consequences of being perceived as violators of international law.”
The former national security advisor said that India, along with Pakistan, now has an image of a religiously driven and intolerant country. “We have gifted our adversaries platforms from which to attack us,” he added.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, makes citizenship smoother for refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country before December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died so far in protests against the Act, which have turned violent at times.