India remains allergic to mediation on Kashmir

Published: 06:22 PM, 20 Feb, 2020
India remains allergic to mediation on Kashmir
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In line with Hindutva mindset and her fascist approach, the ruling Bhartiya Junta Party (BJP) of India has rejected the offer of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to mediate between India and Pakistan to find a peaceful and lasting solution of the Kashmir conflict. The Secretary General made this offer twice recently. Once before he embarked upon his recent journey to Pakistan and then during his visit to Islamabad.

In a written statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr Guterres said he had been following the situation in the Indian-held Kashmir with deep concern, adding that the only way to find a respectable settlement of the dispute was to follow the provisions of the United Nations Charter and application of the UNSC resolutions.

Mr Guterres was of the view that the restrictions imposed on the citizens of the occupied valley could exacerbate the human rights situation and it was in the interest of the parties to the dispute to refrain from taking action that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. This was an apparent reference to revocation of Article 370 and 15-A of the Indian Constitution.

Since this annexation move by India, over eight million innocent Kashmiri people have been subjected to an unending curfew, besides severing of communication links in the valley. During the worst days of ongoing months-long lockdown, most of the mosques have been either shut or taken over by Indian troops for lodging.

But New Delhi, while ignoring all diplomatic norms, reacted to this offer not only by rejecting it like always but ruthlessly claimed that the disputed territory was an integral part of India.

Earlier during the annual UN General Assembly session in September, US President Trump told Prime Minister Imran Khan that he was willing to mediate on Kashmir issue provided India demonstrates a willingness for it. That offer was also rejected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The recent offer of mediation by the UN chief to resolve the issue in line with Security Council Resolutions was rejected by Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar outrightly, using the oft-repeated stance of calling the occupied valley as India’s integral part.

“There is no role or scope for any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue. India probably could not stand the assertions of Mr Guterres, who said: “When we see situations of discontent and unrest in the held-valley, it is of utmost importance to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.”

While responding to UN Secretary General’s offer, Indian foreign ministry insisted “the region is and will continue to be an integral part” of India and that the issue that needs to be addressed “is of vacation of territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan”.

Earlier, the Indian foreign ministry spokesman had reacted similarly to a recent statement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who expressed concern over the plight of the Kashmiri people and extended full support to their cause.

The statement rejecting all references made to occupied Kashmir territory said: “Turkey should not interfere in Indian internal affairs. We call upon Turkish leadership to develop a proper understanding of the facts including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India.”

During his official visit to Pakistan, President Erdogan said the suffering of the Kashmiri people had worsened in recent years due to the taking of "unilateral steps" by India. "This approach, that aggravates the current situation, revokes the freedom and vested rights of the Kashmiri people, benefits no one,” he said.

The UN Secretary General is believed to be carrying a different understanding of Pak-India relations and the volatile situation marked by the prolonged curfew in held-Kashmir and the sub-human conditions Kashmiris have been forced to live in.

This will reflect in future proceedings of the world body when Kashmir issue comes up for discussion in the UN Security Council.

Besides facing embarrassment in the United Nations, India had been condemned and criticised in the European Parliament. After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s relentless campaign against the illegal actions of his Indian counterpart – especially the annulment of Kashmir’s special status and the Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminated against Muslims – the European Parliament had decided to debate these issues.

A resolution submitted in the EU Parliament for debate bitterly criticised the unilateral changes made to the status of Kashmir by India. It noted that India has never implemented the UNSC resolutions by holding a plebiscite to allow all Kashmiris to determine their future.

But probably the European Parliament has succumbed to the Indian pressure as it has postponed the expected voting on the draft resolution. The vote, which was expected to be held on Thursday, will now not be held until the end of March. It might now take place after Prime Minister Modi’s March 13 visit to Brussels for a bilateral summit.

Salim Bokhari

The writer is the Group Editor of City News Network.