Indo-Pak ties to remain frosty

New Delhi braces for Islamabad's Kashmir tirade at UN session

Indo-Pak ties to remain frosty

The India-Pakistan relation is likely to remain frosty for sometime after the latest flashpoint.

New Delhi is bracing for an attempt by Islamabad to raise the issue of Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York late next month.

Though both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif will be in New York towards the end of next month to address the 69th session of the UNGA, a meeting between the two now seems unlikely after New Delhi called off next week’s foreign-secretary level talks with Islamabad, protesting the latter’s move to seek views of the separatists of Kashmir.

Sources in New Delhi told Deccan Herald that Modi and Sharif might, however, have a bilateral meeting on the sideline of the Saarc summit in Kathmandu in November, if the situation by then turned conducive for any such attempt to de-escalate tension between the two neighbours.

New Delhi is anticipating that Pakistan might use Sharif’s address to the 69th session of the UNGA to raise its pitch on Kashmir. Such a move will trigger a strong riposte from India, possibly by Modi himself in case he addresses the UNGA after Sharif.

Modi is also expected to highlight New Delhi’s concerns over anti-India terrorism emanating from Pakistan in his address to the UNGA, tentatively scheduled for September 27.

Sharif raked up the issue of Kashmir while speaking on the occasion of the Independence Day of his country on August 14 and termed it the “main source of tension” between India and Kashmir.

He said that India and Pakistan would find new ways to take forward bilateral ties if they could resolve the issue of Kashmir. His remark came soon after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Government strongly reacted to Modi’s accusation against Islamabad of pursuing a “proxy-war” against India.

The Modi government has been hardening its stance on Kashmir since it took office in May. It asked the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to vacate official accommodation provided to it in New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

The move was intended to stress that the UN had no role in the dispute over Kashmir as it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. New Delhi argues that the UNMOGIP’s role had been overtaken by the Simla Agreement, which was signed by India and Pakistan in 1972 and later ratified subsequently by Parliaments of both the countries.

Even while announcing its decision to call off next week’s foreign secretary-level talks, New Delhi made it a point to invoke the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration–ostensibly to reject any fresh move by Islamabad to internationalise the issue of Kashmir.

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