Polity and Governance

Kashmir Issue discussed at UNSC

In News •Recently, The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held informal consultations regarding the Kashmir issue behind the closed door. •The meeting neither had Indian nor Pakistan representative. •No official statements were issued after the meeting. Background •India changed the political status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A which provided special privileges to the state. •India has maintained Article 370 is an internal matter of India and Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan. •The change in status irked our neighboring country, Pakistan, which claims Kashmir in full and they tried to internationalize the issue. •Pakistan in a letter approached the UNSC to convene an urgent meeting on the matter. Why the meeting took place? Since Pakistan did not get a hearing, China, a permanent member of the UNSC asked the world body to hold a closed-door meeting. News reports said, China, an all-weather ally of Pakistan, had asked for "closed consultations" in the UN Security Council the agenda item 'India-Pakistan question', to discuss the Kashmir issue after Islamabad wrote a letter seeking a meeting. Any member can ask for such consultations among all members on any issue. They are not considered as a formal meeting. Kashmir and The UN The last time the matter came up at the UNSC regarding the issue was in 1965, while the last time India and Pakistan came up as a topic for discussion was in 1971. The Kashmir issue first reached the door of the UNSC in 1948 when India took this matter to it. The UNSC passed resolution 39 (1948) and established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate the issues and mediate between the two countries. Following the cease-fire of hostilities, it also established the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to monitor the cease-fire line. The Simla Agreement- India’s position and the UN After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the two countries signed the Simla Agreement in 1972 to define the Line of Control in Kashmir. India and Pakistan disagree on UNMOGIP's mandate in Kashmir because India argued that the mandate of UNMOGIP has lapsed after the Simla agreement because it was specifically established to observe ceasefire according to the Karachi Agreement. However, the Secretary-General of the United Nations maintained that the UNMOGIP should continue to function because no resolution has been passed to terminate it. About Simla agreement The treaty was signed in Simla in India by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the President of Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India in July 1972. The agreement also paved the way for diplomatic recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan. One major outcome of the agreement is- Both countries will "settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations" India has, many a time, maintained that Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue and must be settled through bilateral negotiations as per Simla Agreement, 1972 and thus, had denied any third party intervention, even that of the United Nations. India’s position after the meeting India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, after the meeting met the press to clarify India’s position: •In a reference to Pakistan and China, he said, two states who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community. •The move to modify Article 370 was an “internal matter”, aimed at “good governance” and “socio-economic development”. •India, with its legacy of the anti-apartheid struggle, did not need lessons from “international busybodies” criticizing the human rights situation in Kashmir. •He acknowledged reasonable restrictions in the Kashmir Valley and stated it will be lifted soon. More on Informal Consultations of the UNSC China had backed Pakistan’s August 13 letter to UNSC president for an open meeting on India’s move to change the special constitutional status of Kashmir. Nine of fifteen Security Council members did not agree to the proposal for an open meeting. China changed tack on August 14 and requested for a closed-door “informal consultations”, a category of meeting with no record or outcome. Except for China, all permanent members- US, Russia, France, and Britain backed India's position on the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and supported the bilateral resolution of the issue.
Source: The wire, Wikipedia

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