The United Arab Emirates today supported the government’s move to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories. The gulf nation’s ambassador said it was an “internal matter” of India and was “not a unique incident”.
Several nations, including the UN Security Council’s five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – were briefed on the government’s Kashmir move yesterday.
The ministry had explained that the changes made were to a “temporary” article that lessened accountability, quality of governance and added to separatist sentiment, sources had said.
“The reorganisation of states is not a unique incident in history of independent India and it was mainly aimed at reducing regional disparity and improving efficiency. It is an internal matter as stipulated by the Indian Constitution,” Dr Ahmad Al Banna, the UAE’s ambassador to India, said today.
The acceptance by the UAE is seen as a boost for the Kashmir move in view of concerns about the reaction from the Arab bloc. The ending of special status has been described by the local leaders in Jammu and Kashmir as a move to control Muslim-majority Kashmir.
UAE has been India’s strategic ally and had even intervened with Pakistan when a pilot of the Idian Air Force was captured after the aerial dogfight when Pakistan Air Force targeted Indian installations in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes.
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed made phone calls to Imran Khan and PM Modi, stressing – according to a tweet – “the importance of dealing wisely and giving priority to dialogue and communication”.
The government’s announcement yesterday that it ended the special status for Jammu and Kashmir through a presidential order, and that it planned to bifurcate the state, has triggered a political furore.
The bill to split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - Ladakh which will be without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir, which will have one - was passed by the opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha yesterday with the backing from a number of regional parties.
The bill was debated in the lower house today, and given the government’s strength, it easily sailed through.