NEW DELHI :
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to discuss Kashmir late on Wednesday following a request from China, two people familiar with the developments said requesting anonymity.
The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan is expected to give its assessment of the situation in Kashmir, one of the people cited above said.
China had made similar moves in August last year, which went through, but the December attempt was postponed. China’s move to focus UNSC’s attention to Kashmir comes at the behest of its all-weather friend Pakistan.. The move is expected to cast a shadow on India-China ties, despite leaders of both countries trying to stabilize the relationship.
August’s UNSC meeting on Kashmir was a closed-door session and billed as “informal consultations" and thus no statement was issued. It came days after India’s Parliament revoked provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave Jammu and Kashmir special status, and divided the region into two Union territories—Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. This is seen as a victory for India as no formal statement was issued by the UNSC. However, it was for the first time since 1971 that the UNSC was discussing Kashmir.
In December, China postponed a discussion by UNSC about Kashmir as the UN peacekeeping mission was not ready to provide a brief, Reuters had quoted UN-based diplomats as saying.
The UNSC discussion on Kashmir on Wednesday at a “closed-door meeting" comes on a day the Indian government said a group of ministers will visit the Valley to interact with the people about the development initiatives that New Delhi has planned to undertake in the newly-created Union territories.
It also coincides with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to New York, one of the two people cited above said.
Pakistan has been highlighting alleged “human rights violations in the region", including detention of some political leaders, curbs on the internet and other forms of communication, including restrictions on mobile services, as well as embargos on the movement of people, since India integrated Kashmir more closely with itself. The curbs were necessary to ensure there were no protests or violence in the region, New Delhi said.
However, several restrictions that were in place since 4 August have been lifted in a phased manner. Internet services were partially restored on Wednesday and the ban on short messaging services for post-paid mobile connections were lifted earlier. Last week, India took a group of 15 New Delhi-based diplomats on a tour to Jammu and Kashmir for an assessment of the situation.
India is confident that other members of UNSC would “push back" against China’s move to embarrass India, said the second person mentioned above. France had said on “many occasions" that the Kashmir issue “must be settled bilaterally" and this was a position that Paris will “continue to reiterate to partners in the UNSC", he said. News of the close-door discussions on Kashmir at UNSC at the instance of China came on a day that Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar said that rapidly rising economies, India and China, have no choice but to get along with each other.
It is imperative that neither get the relationship with the other wrong, considering that the two countries are neighbours, Jaishankar said at the fifth Raisina Dialogue, an annual event hosting foreign and defence ministers, and strategic experts in New Delhi. He, however, acknowledged that the challenge was to find the basis for a stable relationship.
Shaswati Das contributed to this story .