Despite UN feat, UK's stand, Russian surprise irk India

Security personnel stand guard at a check-point, during curfew like restrictions on the 13th consecutive day, following the abrogation of the provisions Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Even as India has succeeded in blocking attempts by Pakistan and China to bring the issue of Jammu and Kashmir back on the formal agenda of the United Nations Security Council, New Delhi is worried about the position taken by United Kingdom and dithering by Russia.

The closed-door consultation the UNSC had in New York on Friday saw Russia and the UK joining the overwhelming majority of the permanent and non-permanent members of the council to endorse New Delhi's stand that recent decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government on J&K were “internal” affairs of India. They also agreed that India and Pakistan should resolve the issue through bilateral dialogue.

But what made New Delhi worried is that the UK not only expressed concern over human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, but also extended support to China's demand for the UNSC to issue a public statement on India recent moves to strip the state of its special status and reorganize it into two Union Territories. India's “old friend” Russia too argued in favour of bilateral dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours, but surprised New Delhi by adding that both sides should try to resolve the issue in accordance with not only the bilateral agreements, but also the “charter” and the “relevant resolutions” of the United Nations.

India has since long been maintaining that its 1972 Simla Agreement with Pakistan and the 1999 Lahore Declaration had left no scope for the UN or any third party to get involved in the process to resolve the “outstanding issues” between the two neighbours.

The UNSC on Friday held the informal closed-door consultation on Pakistan's plea to hold a formal open session to discuss India's recent moves on J&K, which, according to Prime Minister Imran Khan's Government in Islamabad, was a ploy by New Delhi to “forcibly change” the demography of the disputed territory.

The Security Council held the consultation as Pakistan's “iron brother” China asked for it. New Delhi's hectic diplomatic campaign succeeded in ensuring that the consultation does not lead to the UNSC issuing a public statement on the situation in Kashmir or holding a formal open session which would have marked the return of the issue on the Horse-Shoe table after 48 years.

The 75-minute-long consultation at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday saw France and United States – two of the five permanent members of the UNSC – as well as most of the non-permanent members of the council endorsing New Delhi's contention that its decisions on J&K were “internal” affairs of India with no implication on its disputed borders with Pakistan or China.

The US had earlier expressed concerns over detention of political leaders and others in J&K and had asked India to “respect individual rights”. But the announcement by J&K chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam on phased easing of restrictions imposed in the state just hours before the UNSC consultation allayed the concerns of the US and several other members of the council. France too noted that India had already started making efforts to restore normalcy in the state. Most of the UNSC members were convinced, although the UK, continued to express concern over reports on violation of human rights by the security forces in J&K. The UK also joined China in arguing in favour of the UNSC issuing a formal public statement expressing concern on the situation in the “disputed territory”, sources aware of the consultation in New York told the DH.

New Delhi earlier conveyed to British Government its displeasure over large scale protest that Pakistanis living in the UK staged in front of Indian High Commission in London and around on the Independence Day of India on Thursday. The UK's stand at the UNSC closed-door consultation added to New Delhi's ire, sources said on Saturday.

India was also surprised by the tweets, which Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, posted while participating in the UNSC consultation on Friday. He tweeted that Russia favoured bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the issue of Kashmir and other disputes, but added that they should do so in accordance with “UN charter, relevant UN resolutions and the bilateral agreements”.

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