The rare closed-door consultations on Kashmir by the Security Council ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ, dealing a huge snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, which an overwhelming majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The informal consultations, requested for by China, lasted over an hour on Friday after which Beijing’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun and Pakistan’s UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi made remarks to the media at the UN Security Council stakeout one by one. The two left without taking any question from the reporters.
Sources familiar with the consultations told PTI that China was pushing for an outcome or a press statement to be delivered after the consultations by Poland, the President of the Security Council for the month of August. The UK also sided with China in calling for a statement to the press.
“Pakistan raising Kashmir at the UN doesn’t have any traction. This time also it did not get any traction at all. There was no outcome, no statement from Poland, as UNSC President, after the consultations,” the sources added.
Majority of the 15 members said there should not be any statement or outcome issued after the consultations and their will prevailed, leaving China to come out and make a statement in its national capacity followed by Pakistan. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin in his remarks to the media said that he will present New Delhi’s national position too “if national statements try to masquerade as the will of the international community,” a reference to statements by China and Pakistan.
Further, an “overwhelming” number of Council members maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that they need to address themselves, a rebuff to Islamabad’s intention to internationalize Kashmir, according to sources privy to the internal discussions.
China, a permanent member with veto, had asked for a meeting in the Council. As per UNSC procedures, Council members can ask to bring up any issue for discussion. “Everybody will ask for something or the other.” There will be no record nor any minutes of the closed consultations.
Sources with knowledge of the proceedings said that in its discussions with UNSC members, India was able to break down “piece by piece” each of the arguments. India’s approach was that how can a constitutional matter become a threat to peace and security, as claimed by Pakistan in reference to Article 370.
“How does a federal arrangement create an implication for beyond the border,” the sources said. Further, India has been repeatedly stressing that it is committed to the Simla Agreement on the issue of Kashmir.
On the issue of gross violation of human rights, sources said, “Pakistan lost that battle also because China is talking about human rights.” Sources familiar with the development also said that if Pakistan feels Article 370 is a material change of a situation, “what is CPEC”, a reference to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “How many material changes have they done?” Sources said that China could have stopped at the first step of calling the meeting “but by trying to get the Council to react to it they overplayed their hand” and by “pushing their hand, they lost everything.” African nations in the Council – Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, Dominican Republic, Germany, US, France and Russia supported India, sources said.