Russia plays down tweets by its envoy on J&K

Russia plays down tweets by its envoy on J&K

(PTI photo)

Russia on Wednesday played down the tweets by its senior diplomat, Dmitry Polyanskiy, who argued that India and Pakistan should resolve the issue of Kashmir in accordance with, not only bilateral agreements but also the charter and the resolutions of the United Nations.

With just a few days left before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Vladivostok to hold the annual summit with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Moscow's envoy to New Delhi, Nikolay Kudashev, sought to clear the air about Kremlin's position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Moscow endorsed New Delhi's position that Modi Government's recent decisions to strip J&K of its special status and reorganize the state into two Union Territories were “internal” affairs of India, said Kudashev.

“India's decision (on J&K) is a sovereign decision which is as per its Constitution. Our position on the issue is totally identical to the position of India,” said Kudashev, who was briefing journalists ahead of the Modi-Putin annual summit.

“Let us make it very clear that no specific resolutions were mentioned (in tweets by Dmitry Polyanskiy). ” Roman Babushkin, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Russian Federation in New Delhi, said, adding: “When referring to (the) UN resolutions and (the) UN charter, it is talking about non-interference in internal issues. That's what it meant.”

Babushkin was responding to a question on Polyanskiy's posts on Twitter during an informal consultation of the Security Council at the UN headquarters in New Delhi on August 16.

““#Russia continues to consistently promote normalisation of #India - #Pakistan ties,” Polyanskiy, posted on Twitter. “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 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 on J&K. His tweet had however gone against New Delhi's long-standing position that the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan and the 1999 Lahore Declaration had left no scope for the UN or any third party to play any role in resolving the “outstanding issues” between the two South Asian neighbours.

His tweets surprised many in New Delhi as India was relying much on its old ally Russia to thwart moves by Pakistan and its “iron brother” China to bring the issue of J&K back on the formal agenda of the Security Council.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) – the predecessor of the Russian Federation – had in the past used its veto at the UNSC several times in the past to foil attempts on behalf of Pakistan to get the Security Council pass resolutions against India on 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 August 14 to seek support against the recent decisions of Modi 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.

“We agree that interstate dialogue must be based on the principles of the UN Charter and respect of the nations’ right to choose their development model,” Lavrov said after a meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Moscow on Wednesday.