Russia stuns India, invokes UN resolutions on Kashmir

Russia expressed hope during a closed-door consultation of the Security Council at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York that India and Pakistan would settle the dispute over Kashmir in accordance with the charter and the relevant resolutions of the international organisation as well as bilateral agreements. (Reuters File Photo)

Much to New Delhi's surprise, Russia on Friday referred to the charter and resolutions of the United Nations while expressing hope that India and Pakistan would settle the dispute over Kashmir. 

Russia expressed hope during a closed-door consultation of the Security Council at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York that India and Pakistan would settle the dispute over Kashmir in accordance with the charter and the relevant resolutions of the international organisation as well as bilateral agreements.

“#Russia continues to consistently promote normalisation of #India - #Pakistan ties,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tweeted while participating at the closed-door consultation of the Security Council. 

“We hope that existing divergences around #Kasmir (Kashmir) will be settled bilaterally by political and diplomatic means only on the basis of Simla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore declaration of 1999, in accordance with UN Charter, relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan,” Polyanskiy posted on Twitter. 

Polyanskiy represented the Government of Russian Federation at the UNSC's closed-door consultation on Pakistan's plea for an emergency session of the council to discuss India's recent moves to strip Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) of its “special status” and to reorganize the state into two Union Territories.

What surprised New Delhi was his reference to “UN charter” and “relevant UN resolutions” while hoping for a settlement between India and Pakistan to end the row over Kashmir. 

His tweet had gone against New Delhi's long-standing position that the Simla Agreement in 1972 signed by Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, 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 nations. The principle of the Simla Agreement had again been reaffirmed by Lahore Declaration issued by then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and his then Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

India has been invoking Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration to resist attempts by Pakistan to internationalise the bilateral dispute over Kashmir and raise it at the UN General Assembly or the Security Council. 

New Delhi also recently refuted US President Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested him to mediate between India and Pakistan to help them resolve the dispute over Kashmir. 

India's position was well known to its “old friend” Russia. 

Yet Russia's deputy envoy to United Nations on Friday ended up echoing Pakistan's “iron brother” China, when he expressed hope that New Delhi and Islamabad should settle the dispute in accordance with bilateral agreements as well as UN charter and resolutions.  

New Delhi reached out to all the five permanent members – US, China, Russia, France and United Kingdom – as well as most of the 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC over the past 24 hours in order to make sure that the closed-door consultation within the council does not lead to formal return of the J&K issue on the Horse-Shoe Table.

But the only P-5 nation New Delhi was relying on without an iota of doubt was Russia. 

India was pretty convinced that Russia would firmly stand by it and stop the UNSC from taking any decision that might help Pakistan internationalise the issue of Kashmir. 

Moscow had in fact endorsed New Delhi's position when Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had called his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday to seek support against the recent decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government on J&K. “There is no alternative to resolve differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally through political and diplomatic means,” a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Government had quoted Lavrov telling Qureshi.

Moscow had earlier also endorsed New Delhi's argument that Modi Government's decisions on J&K were “internal” affairs of India. 

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic – the predecessor of the Russian Federation – had used its veto at the UNSC several times in the past to foil attempts on behalf of Pakistan to get the Security Council to pass resolutions against India on the issue of Kashmir.

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