In yet another exercise that back-fired, China called for “informal consultations” at the UN Security Council on the Kashmir issue. The move was backed by Pakistan. However, majority of the Security Council members dismissed the move. This was the third attempt by China to raise the issue of revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. India’s External Affairs Ministry said that Beijing should draw ‘proper lessons’ from these attempts. Most members of the UNSC feel that it is a bilateral issue.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin said, “Pakistan’s practice of using false pretences to distract the malaise that affects that country has run its course. Diplomacy is not about crying wolf. It is about taking tough but realistic steps, steps that can even be small. And that small step has to be where we were on August 5,” added Mr. Akbaruddin In fact, key permanent members of the Security Council; US, UK, France and Russia had backed India’s move. The four permanent members had described the matter as ‘India’s internal issue’.
Mr. Akbaruddin said diplomacy requires clear channels, something that Pakistan disrupted over five months ago. Perhaps, the first step for Islamabad is to move in that path and show serious intent at diplomacy.
China, which is Pakistan’s “all-weather friend”, had made a fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under “other matters” during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room. “Among the five permanent members, there was one that used its presence in the council to push for a discussion on Kashmir. All the other permanent members talked very differently. The global consensus is now evident for anyone who wants to listen to it,” said India’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
China has till now made three attempts to internationalise Kashmir through such interventions. The top Indian diplomat at the UN said the renewed attempt may have just been a case of Beijing trying its luck with new members of the Security Council. The composition of the Security Council, a 15-member body, changes every year. Last year, there were five members who were different from this year. Beijing’s thought that probably new UNSC members would be different in their outlook because of the changed composition. But, the China-Pakistan move found no takers.
The outcome of the latest closed door informal consultations show that the entire world considers Kashmir as an issue that has to be addressed bilaterally between India and Pakistan. Mr. Akbaruddin said, “now it is for Beijing and Islamabad to understand what is clearly manifest to everybody else in the UN”. The Indian diplomat also criticised Pakistan over its use of terror as a state policy. “No normal state does that. We stand ready to engage in a normal manner,” said Mr. Akbaruddin.
Since the revocation of Article 370, Pakistan has been trying to rake up the matter at every opportunity. This strategy of Islamabad has not yielded any dividends. Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan has been in the forefront of highlighting India’s internal moves in order to deflect attention from his government’s mal-administration. This is indeed hypocritical.
Pakistan is facing enormous economic problems and even domestic unrest; but in order to evade those issues, Prime Minister Imran Khan has resorted to every Pakistani politician last plank, that is anti-India rhetoric. The cricketer-turned-politician should know that such gimmicks can never be substituted for addressing people’s grievances. Pakistan has the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) amongst all the South Asian countries. Sixty five million people in that country are “desperately poor”. A vast majority of poor Pakistani women suffer from poverty as well as lack of opportunities throughout their lives.
It is high-time Mr. Imran Khan stopped talking about India and gives concrete shape to his idea of building the “Riyasat-e-Madina” (welfare state), that he had promised the Pakistani people.
Script: Kaushik Roy, Air: News Analyst