Reject China’s interference in internal affairs: India
China pushed for the closed-door discussion at the Security Council to coincide with the first anniversary on Wednesday of India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to split it into two union territories.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 03:46 IST
India on Thursday asked China for the second day in a row not to interfere in the country’s internal affairs after Beijing backed a move on behalf of its close ally Islamabad to discuss the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council.
China pushed for the closed-door discussion at the Security Council to coincide with the first anniversary on Wednesday of India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to split it into two union territories. Pakistan too pulled out all stops to rake up the Kashmir issue and observed Wednesday as a “day of exploitation”.
Noting that China initiated the discussion in the Security Council on the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the external affairs ministry said in a statement: “We firmly reject China’s interference in our internal affairs and urge it to draw proper conclusions from such infructuous attempts.”
On Wednesday, India tersely asked China to keep out of the internal affairs of other countries after Beijing contended that New Delhi’s “unilateral” changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir were “illegal and invalid”. India also said the Chinese side “has no locus standi whatsoever on this matter”.
This was the third time in a year that China raised the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council using what is known as the “any other business” (AOB) item of the agenda, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity. China brought up the issue in August last year and again in January. Prior to this, the last time the Kashmir issue was on the Security Council’s agenda was in 1971.
The external affairs ministry noted this “was not the first time that China has sought to raise a subject that is solely an internal matter of India”. It added, “As on such previous occasions, this attempt too met with little support from the international community.”
AOB items are taken up during informal, closed-door consultations of the Security Council and there are no records of discussions or formal outcomes, the people cited above said. Moreover, similar moves by China in the past were opposed by France, the US and other permanent members of the Security Council, who have said Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and should be settled by the two countries.
India’s permanent representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti, tweeted: “Another attempt by Pakistan fails! In today’s meeting of UN Security Council which was closed, informal, not recorded and without any outcome, almost all countries underlined that J&K was bilateral issue & did not deserve time and attention of Council.”
The people cited above said Security Council members usually don’t oppose AOB items as they produce no outcomes. This was the route adopted by Security Council members to discuss the situation in Hong Kong in May.
Pakistan recently sent a letter to the Security Council seeking a discussion on Kashmir but four of the five permanent members – the US, the UK, France and Russia – and Germany sided firmly with India, the people said. Russia even sought the resolution of the issue in line with the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.
“They chose the date carefully but it proved to be a short-sighted move as everyone else came to India’s support,” said a UN diplomat who monitored the meeting. “Most members felt this needs to be resolved bilaterally and it doesn’t deserve to come to the Security Council, and there was a sense that this was a waste of the body’s time.”
Pakistan also reached out to Indonesia, which holds the Security Council’s rotational chair for August, with foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking on phone to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Wednesday about the need to look into the situation in Kashmir and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).
Indonesia, which has strong trade ties with India, has been traditionally reluctant to get embroiled in such issues, the people said. Indonesia agreed with others in the Security Council that the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved bilaterally.
Tirumurti told the media: “Pakistan has once again been singularly unsuccessful in making inroads into the UN on Jammu and Kashmir and their narrative has lost steam with the [Security] Council members.”
Experts believe Chinese support for these efforts by Pakistan have to be seen as part of the pressure being built up by Beijing on New Delhi amid the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), especially since very little can be done to stymie such actions.
Former ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, distinguished fellow for foreign policy studies at Gateway House, said: “This is further evidence of the rising diplomatic pressure and the coordination between Beijing and Islamabad amid the continuing impasse in negotiations between India and China.
“India will have to continue to engage with the Chinese to find a way out. There are also meetings coming up with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Brics. We will have to see how to correlate bilateral developments with such plurilateral events.”