India on Friday said there is “broad acceptance” in the world community of its commitment to bilaterally address all issues with Pakistan as the UN Security Council held closed-door consultations on the Kashmir issue without granting Islamabad a formal and open meeting.
“Thwarted,” said a top UN diplomat in a one-word response about Pakistan’s request for a formal meeting of the Security Council that garnered the support of only one of the body’s 15 members: China.
The Security Council heard briefings and reports presented by UN bodies during the consultations that lasted just over an hour, and members expressed “serious concerns” about the situation in Kashmir and urged all parties not to take unilateral action that could further aggravate the situation, China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, told reporters.
However, India’s envoy to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, said there is widespread acceptance of the country’s commitment to deal with issues such as Kashmir with Pakistan bilaterally.
“India’s commitment to address these issues on the bilateral track has very broad acceptance globally,” he said in response to questions from reporters after the consultations. “We don’t need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives.”
The “closed consultation” was held after China threw its weight behind its all-weather ally Pakistan’s call for the Security Council to take up India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. However, there are no records or formal outcomes from such discussions.
On the Chinese and Pakistani envoys’ remarks after the UNSC meeting, Akbaruddin said: “For the first time after the end of Security Council consultations, we noted that two states [China and Pakistan] who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community.”
People familiar with the developments said the US, France and the Dominican Republic mounted a concerted effort to block even the informal discussions. However, several countries friendly with India were surprised by Russia’s move to back the demand by China and Pakistan for a formal and open meeting, they added.
Akbaruddin reiterated India’s position that the changes in Kashmir are an “entirely internal matter and have no external ramifications”. He said that authorities had announced steps on Friday to move towards normalcy and Security Council had appreciated these efforts and “indicated that this is the direction in which they would like the international community to move”.
Without naming Pakistan, he noted that one state had adopted an “alarmist approach” that was far from the ground reality and was using the “terminology of jihad and promoting violence against India”. He added that all issues between India and Pakistan would be handled “peacefully and bilaterally” and New Delhi is committed to the “peaceful resolution of all issues in an atmosphere free of terror and violence”.
“Using terror to try and push your goals is not the way that normal states behave… No democracy will accept talks when terror thrives, stop terror to start talks. We are committed to the Simla Agreement and await a response from Pakistan,” Akbaruddin said.
Pakistan’s envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said her country had managed to raise the voice of the Kashmiri people at the Security Council. “The fact that this meeting took place is testimony to the fact that this is an internationally recognised dispute,” she said. “We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir.”
The Congress, meanwhile, called the UNSC’s move a “grave diplomatic failure” of the BJP government. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it was a failure on the part of the government’s foreign policy to allow internationalisation of the Kashmir issue in the UN.