Pakistan PM Imran Khan pledged to be the voice of Kashmir. AFP
Pakistan PM Imran Khan pledged to be the voice of Kashmir. AFP

De-escalate tensions in South Asia: Russia to Pakistan

  • The Russian foreign ministry said Russia had emphasized the need for de-escalation of tensions and conveyed that to Pakistan
  • The Russian rebuff to Pakistan came on a day PM Khan questioned the silence of the international community on India’s move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status

Russia on Wednesday impressed on Pakistan the need to de-escalate tensions in South Asia on a day Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to become the voice of Kashmir and raise the issue at all global fora, including the United Nations (UN).

In a press release, the Russian foreign ministry said Russia had emphasized the need for de-escalation of tensions and conveyed to Pakistan “that there is no alternative to resolve differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally through political and diplomatic means."

“Representatives of Russia to the UN adhere to this consistent position," the statement issued after a telephone conversation between Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

The Russian rebuff to Pakistan came on a day PM Khan questioned the silence of the international community on India’s move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.

Addressing a special session of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s (PoK) legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, Khan said if a war breaks out with India, the global community will be responsible. “The world’s eye is on Kashmir and on Pakistan...I will be the ambassador who raises Kashmir’s voice at every international forum."

Khan was in Muzaffarabad to observe Pakistan’s Independence Day, in solidarity with the Kashmiris.

Last week, the Indian Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, which designated Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh as Union territories. Soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was a step to usher in a “new era."

In his speech, Khan said Modi had “committed a strategic blunder, he has played his last card. It will cost a lot to Modi and the BJP. Because they have internationalized the issue of Kashmir".

elizabeth.r@livemint.com

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