Pakistan not getting support at UN over surgical strikes, says Syed Akbaruddin

Akbaruddin said the "facts on the ground do not change whether somebody acknowledges or not. Facts are facts, we presented the facts and that's where we stand."

By: PTI | United Nations | Updated: October 1, 2016 1:09 pm

India has said Pakistan approaching the UN over the issue of surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance in the world body and rejected claims that the UN mission monitoring ceasefire “has not directly observed” any firing along the LoC. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin dismissed remarks made by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “has not directly observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incidents”, a reference to the surgical strikes conducted by India on September 29 targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Akbaruddin told reporters at the Indian Permanent Mission in United Nations on Friday that the facts on the ground do not change whether somebody has “observed” it or not. “I have nothing to say because what (Dujarric) said was ‘directly observed’. It’s a call that they have to take. I cannot place myself in their boots and directly observe something,” the Indian envoy said when asked to comment on Dujarric’s remarks.

Akbaruddin said the “facts on the ground do not change whether somebody acknowledges or not. Facts are facts, we presented the facts and that’s where we stand.” India on Thursday carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant  casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.

When pressed at the daily press briefing to explain how UNMOGIP can say it did not observe any firing even as India said it has conducted the surgical strikes, Dujarric repeated  that UNMOGIP has not “directly observed” any of the firing.

“They are obviously aware of the reports of these presumed violations and are talking to the relevant concerned authorities,” he had said. Akbaruddin said while Pakistan has reached out to the UN Chief and the 15-nation Council over the issues of the surgical strike and Kashmir, it’s call for intervention by the world body has not found any resonance as there was no further discussion on the matter.

“Yesterday there was some action. You are also aware of the reaction,” Akbaruddin said referring to Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi meeting New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and raising in the UNSC the issue of the action by India.

“Yesterday the Pakistan ambassador did approach New Zealand. What they didn’t tell you after that was what happened. Did anyone raise anything after what was explained to in the UN Security Council. The answer that I know of is that there was no further discussion of this (surgical strike and Kashmir matter),” Akbaruddin said.

He said Pakistan had raised the issues through the New Zealand ambassador in “informal consultations” of the Council. “Was there a resonance. I didn’t hear that, nor did anybody else in those informal consultations. We are a responsible state. It is not our intention to aggravate the situation.

“However as a responsible state we will not tolerate any impunity. We will not be indifferent to territory being used to kill innocent citizens of our country,” Akbaruddin said adding that India hopes and expects “support from Pakistan also in that endeavor”.

“Ultimately they are committed to a bilateral understanding on this.”  The Indian envoy also added that Pakistan had raised the Kashmir issue in the General Assembly but asked how many nations “supported” it.

“By my count there were none,” he said adding that there is “no resonance” among UN member states for Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir.

“At the high-level General Debate, there was a specific and long Pakistani submission (on Kashmir). I did not hear any resonance of that among any of the member states who took the floor. Ultimately 193 of them took the floor. There was no resonance. If you find anything contrary I’m willing to listen,” Akbaruddin said.

Akbaruddin stressed that as a responsible state, India will not be “indifferent to impunity” as an option. “Our approach is that the response (surgical strike) we undertook yesterday…was a measured, proportionate, counter-terrorist strike. It was reflective of our desire to stop a clear and imminent threat. Our objectives have been met and that effort has since ended,” he said.

He reiterated that India’s effort as a “responsible state” is to respond proportionately and in a measured manner and achieve its objectives.

“In that case, we consider our objectives fulfilled. What spin somebody puts, whether somebody has seen it or not seen it, is not a germane to the issue. That it was undertaken, that we feel that it achieved our objective is important for us as a country,” he said.

On whether India has been approached by the office of the Secretary General or the Security Council regarding de-escalation of the situation, Akbaruddin said, “I did not hear any response to the submission (by Pakistan) yesterday.”

He said as a normal diplomatic practice, if there are any  requests to him or other Indian diplomats on any matter, “itis our job as diplomats to respond to them.”

“In the UN we have a very expansive agenda. We have an agenda that deals with peace and security and also climate change, sustainable development goals. It also deals with having a culture of peace integrating and working together with others.

“We are focused on that expansive and extensive agenda. We are not a one agenda state,” he said. The surgical strike by India came just days after the attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on the Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir that killed 18 jawans.