New Delhi: A move by China and Pakistan to censure India at the UN Security Council on Friday in the wake of India revoking Article 370 of its constitution fell through, ANI news agency said. This, in the wake of the other members of the UN body not favouring the proposal.
India, on its part, said the change in the constitution was an internal matter and that it would only start talks with Pakistan if Islamabad reined in terrorism against it. India is committed to all the agreements that it has signed on the Kashmir issue, India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin said. At the end of the closed-door meeting on Friday, China and Pakistan stood isolated as member after member refused to endorse their position, ANI reported.
In Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the fact that the UN Security Council discussed the matter for the first time after 1965 was an achievement in itself.
Friday’s UNSC meeting was called after China, a permanent member of the UNSC and close ally of Pakistan, had asked for “closed consultations" in the Council on India integrating Kashmir more closely with the rest of the country. Pakistan had condemned the move and China had expressed strong reservations over the Indian action.
Ahead of the discussions at the UN Security Council, Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam on Friday told reporters in Srinagar that phone lines and other communication restrictions in the Kashmir valley will be eased out in phases, starting Friday night itself. Schools will be opened from Monday and political detention of leaders such former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti will be eased out. However, these are subject to review on a daily basis, he said. Twelve out of 22 districts were functioning normally with some limited restrictions in five districts, he added.
In New York, Akbaruddin, citing the press conference by the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary, said the Indian government is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir with the government undertaking steps towards normalcy.
In his comments, after the rare session of the UN Security Council ended, Akbaruddin said that "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". He was referring to separate press briefings by the Chinese and Pakistani representatives to the UN in New York.
Zhang Jun, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations told reporters that members of the UNSC generally felt that both India and Pakistan should refrain from taking unilateral actions over Kashmir. "The situation in Kashmir is already very tense and dangerous," said Zhang.
Pakistan’s Maleeha Lodhi said the voices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir were heard on Friday at the meeting of the UN Security Council meeting. "They are not alone, their voices have been heard, their plight, their hardship, their pain, their suffering, their occupation and the consequences of that occupation has been heard in the UN Security Council today," she was quoted as saying by media reports.
Akbaruddin said India's position was and remains that matters related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution were entirely internal with no external ramifications. Without naming Pakistan, he said there were some countries who are trying to project an "alarmist approach" to the situation in Kashmir, which was far from the ground reality.
“Stop terror to start talks," he said in response to a question from a Pakistani journalist about when India would start talks with Pakistan to sort out the Kashmir issue.
"Of particular concern is that one state is using terminology of jihad and promoting violence in India, including by their leaders. Violence is no solution to the problems that all of us face," Akbaruddin said, taking a swipe at Pakistan.
Ahead of the UN Security Council meeting, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan spoke to US president Donald Trump. According to Pakistan foreign minister Qureshi, Khan took the US President “into confidence" regarding the UN Security Council meeting.
A White House readout of the conversation said that Trump "conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue" regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.