Amid growing tensions between India and Pakistan following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, the United Nations Security Council on Friday held a closed-door meeting at its headquarters at China's behest.
After the UNSC consultation, Pakistan's UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi said that the meeting itself "nullified" India's claim of Jammu and Kashmir being an "internal matter". India's Permanent Representative at UN Syed Akbaruddin lashed out at Islamabad and said that the matters related to Article 370 did not have any external ramification.
Both India and Pakistan were not among the attendees at the informal UNSC meeting, which was meant only for the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.
The Security Council took no action during the closed meeting. However, according to News18, the UNSC members urged India and Pakistan to refrain from actions that would worsen the tensions in the region, while agreeing to follow the situation closely.
They also voiced support for the two countries to settle the dispute via peaceful means based on bilateral agreements in accordance with the UN Charter.
Speaking to reporters, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said council members expressed "serious concern" at the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir including "about the human rights situation" in the region.
"It's the general view of members that parties concerned should refrain from taking any unilateral action which might further aggravate the tension there, since the situation is already very tense and very dangerous," he said.
He said the international community's consensus is that the status of Kashmir is undecided, it is "an internationally-recognised dispute" and should be resolved peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
"Both India and Pakistan are China's friendly neighbours, and both are major developing countries. Both India and Pakistan are at a crucial stage of development. We call on the two sides to set store of the developments of peace in South Asia and discard this zero-sum game mentality and settle disputes peacefully and maintain peace and security in the region collectively and jointly," he said.
After the meeting, Lodhi told mediapersons that Pakistan "stands ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir". She further asserted that "this is the first and not the last step" and "it will only end when justice is done to the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
"This is the first time in over 50 years that this issue has been deliberated upon by the Security Council (sic)," Lodhi said. "I think this meeting nullifies India's claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India."
India slams Pakistan's 'alarmist' approach
After Jun and Lodhi's briefings, Akbaruddin told reporters that India's position remains that matters related to Article 370 are entirely internal and have no external ramifications.
Without naming Pakistan, he said there are some who are trying to project an "alarmist approach" to the situation in Kashmir, which is far from the ground realities.
"Stop terror to start talks," he asserted.
On the Chinese and Pakistani envoys briefing the media after the meeting, he said, "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."
He said India is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir and to ensure that the situation in Kashmir remains calm and peaceful. "We are committed to all the agreements that we have signed on this issue. We note that there were some who tried to project an alarmist approach to the situation, which is far from the ground realities.
"Of particular concern is that one state, which is using terminology of jihad and promoting violence in India, including by their leaders. Violence is no solution to the problems that all of us face," Akbaruddin said, taking a swipe at Pakistan.
#WATCH: Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador to UN says,"so, let me start by coming across to you and shaking hands. All three of you," to a Pakistani journalist when asked,"when will you begin a dialogue with Pakistan?" pic.twitter.com/0s06XAaasl
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2019
The UNSC closed-door meeting was called at the behest of China after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote a letter to UNSC president Joanna Wronecka, urging the council to urgently convene a session on revoking of Article 370.
Ahead of the closed consultation session, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan called up US President Donald Trump to apprise him of the situation in the region. Later, Qureshi said Trump has told Islamabad that he will talk to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of Kashmir.
The UNSC, UN's most powerful body was briefed on Friday morning by Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco and UN military adviser General Carlos Humberto Loitey.
UN officials said the council session may be its first on Kashmir since the late 1990s, or possibly since the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, told reporters, as he headed into the meeting, that Moscow is concerned about the latest developments, but he said Kashmir is "a bilateral issue".
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi termed the UNSC discussing the Kashmir issue a "grave diplomatic failure" of the BJP government and asked Modi to talk to "India's friends" in the United Nations to stall the meeting.
Singhvi said it was a failure on the part of the government's foreign policy to allow internationalisation of the Kashmir issue in the UN. He said the issue has come up at a time when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.
On 5 August, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and has also bifurcated the state into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Reacting to India's decision, Pakistan had expelled the Indian High Commissioner soon after deciding to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi.
India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 18, 2019 19:33:38 IST