For the first time since 1965, the UN undertook a closed-door informal meeting on Kashmir three days ago. Allegedly, China had asked for closed consultations. Such closed-door meetings are rare and generally, the detail of the discussions/deliberation are never declared officially. The outcome can only be known by the reaction of spokespersons of different countries.
Pakistan reported that they succeeded in internationalising the Kashmir issue through the UN. Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan claimed that the UNSC Meeting was a reaffirmation of resolutions for Kashmir’s right to self-determination. Indian media reported that Pakistan and China’s effort to internationalise the J&K issue failed.
Those who go through both claims will naturally be confused about the correct version of the event, especially when the closed-door consultation has no official briefing. Well, that’s called international politics and concerned countries often prefer to portray that they have won the battle. But then it also can be known from how other countries react.
The Chinese envoy said that India and Pakistan should refrain from unilateral actions in Kashmir. Now unilateral action is an ambiguous term and may be considered as a possible skirmish between India and Pakistan.
That’s why India’s permanent representative to the UNSC, Syed Akbaruddin, rightly said that “For the first time after the end of Security Council consultations, we noted that two states (China and Pakistan) who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community”.
On the other hand, the Russian envoy took a stand identical to India, suggesting that the UNSC has no business on Kashmir as it’s a bilateral matter. However, CNN reported that the UNSC failed to agree on a statement. Most nations stressed a bilateral solution and objected to the language as proposed by China. However, the UN News has mentioned the discussion and repeated the UN secretary general’s statement of August 8th which says that ‘The position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter…and applicable Security Council resolutions”, said the statement. “The Secretary-General also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means”, in accordance with the UN Charter.
Although this doesn’t state anything about the closed door deliberations directly, perhaps indirectly, it reports that there is no change in the UN stand on Kashmir. However, we must realise one thing, that the UN is of the opinion that the J&K issue should be solved through bilateral dialogue as per the 1972 Shimla agreement. The Indian envoy also admitted this with a rider, ‘stop terror and start talk’.
All the above detailing is to understand how international politics works. It is said that in international politics ‘dog eats dog’. All countries are mostly interested in their national benefit more than anything else. That’s why sometimes dictators are supported or ditched. General Musharraf was a blue-eyed man for America and the West because of the war in Afghanistan. At the same time, Saddam Hussain or others were treated as enemies of humanity just because their interest wasn’t solved.
In the present case, in my opinion, Indian diplomacy is excellent and at the same time, every nation (Western or Gulf countries) see India as a prospective market and none want to be on another side. That’s probably why even the Gulf nations didn’t side with Pakistan.
On the other hand, Pakistan became infamous because of terrorism in their country. Because of that, they have lost credibility. China wants Pakistan for its ‘Roads and Belts Project’ whereas America wants Pakistan’s help to withdraw from Afghanistan. But then India is also of interest to America because of its markets and another strategic reason is its connection with China.
When so many things are interrelated, then the international community usually opts for the status quo. In 1947, when Nehru went to the UN, the status quo was obtained; Pakistan occupation of Kashmir became a reality although it remained a dispute to be solved.
Narendra Modi’s government knew it, that’s why with minute planning they have revoked Article 370. Now this status quo (J and K without Article 370) will maintain and India is committed to a bilateral talk on the Kashmir issue.
Unfortunately, the Congress spokesperson said that “UNSC Meeting on Kashmir is a failure of Indian diplomacy”. I think that’s an immature statement. When India boldly took a step to integrate J and K, and diplomatically trumped both China and Pakistan, Congress should side with the government. There will be rivalry and opposition between government and opposition but in front of the international community, all parties should be united and stand firm behind the government for the national interest.
The present government not only successfully revoked the contentious Article but also ensured no terrorist attack in the valley till date. Diplomatically it also made a coup against Pakistan-China’s effort to get a statement at the least.
What is next? I think the government has better plans to bring back normalcy to J&K in a phased manner. There might be some separatists and the pro-Pakistan groups which will start protesting after normalcy is achieved, but I am hopeful that things will be settled in due course.
For Pakistan, I don’t think it will ever stop its terror factory, thus there will be no talk on Kashmir nor can any international community ask for talks while the terror is on.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that the Indian government’s act of revoking Article 370 was a well- thought out plan; excellently executed with sufficient diplomatic deliberations. It’s time that the opposition supports the government in integrating J&K fully without playing any negative and cynical politics.