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Explained: UNSC Resolution 47 on Kashmir

What is the UN Security Council resolution 47 on Kashmir, and what did the United Nations ask India and Pakistan to do. The Indian Express explains

Written by Neha Banka |
Updated: August 7, 2019 7:20:08 am
kashmir, Article 370 scrapped, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu kashmir division, Amit Shah, kashmir article 370, Sheikh Abdullah, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Article 370, Kashmir special status, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, Express Explained The government removed the special status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir by modifying Article 370

Hours after news broke of the government’s decision to remove the special status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir by modifying Article 370 of India’s Constitution, Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan slammed the move as “illegal” and said that it would result in further deterioration of diplomatic relations between India & Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Geo News, attributing a statement to the prime minister, said that “India’s move will further deteriorate relations between nuclear-capable neighbours” in a meeting between Khan and Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. In an earlier statement, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said, “No unilateral step by the Government of India can change the disputed status, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan. As the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps.”

What are the UN Security Council resolutions that Imran Khan spoke about?

In his statement, Imran Khan referred to Resolution 47 of the UNSC that focuses on the complaint of the Government of India concerning the dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir, that India took to the Security Council in January 1948. In October 1947, following an invasion by soldiers from the Pakistan Army in plainclothes and tribesmen, the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh sought assistance from India and signed the Instrument of Accession. After the first war in Kashmir (1947-1948), India approached the UN Security Council to bring the conflict in Kashmir to the notice of Security Council members.

jammu and kashmir crisis Maharaja Hari Singh initially opted for an independent J&K, later acceeded the state to India.

Who were the UNSC members who oversaw the issue?

The UN Security Council increased the size of the investigating council to include six members along with permanent members of the UNSC. Along with the five permanent members, China, France, UK, US & Russia, non-permanent members included Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Syria and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

What happened at the UNSC?

India’s position was that it was ready to hold a plebiscite, a direct vote in which an entire electorate votes on a specific proposal, to know of the people’s desire and accept the results of the vote. Pakistan denied its involvement in the conflict and counter-accused India.

In response the UNSC, under Resolution 39 (1948) stated “with a view to facilitating…the restoration of peace and order and to the holding of a plebiscite, by the two Governments, acting in co-operation with one another and with the Commission, and further instructs the Commission to keep the Council informed of the action taken under the resolution.” It also ordered for the conflict to cease and to create conditions for a “free and impartial plebiscite” to decide whether Jammu and Kashmir would accede to India or Pakistan.

Don’t miss from Explained: Why India’s Northeastern states are worried about J&K’s loss of special status

What did the UNSC order Pakistan to do?

The UNSC ordered that Pakistan was to withdraw its tribesmen and Pakistan nationals who had entered “the State for the purpose of fighting” and to prevent future intrusions and to prevent “furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State”. The UNSC also stated that it gave “full freedom to all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste or party, to express their views” and the freedom to vote on the issue of the accession of the State. It was also ordered Pakistan to cooperate with maintaining peace and order.

What did the UNSC order India to do?

The UNSC had a more comprehensive set of orders for India. It said that after the Pakistani army and tribesmen had withdrawn from the State and the fighting had ceased, India was to submit a plan to the Commission for withdrawing forces from Jammu and Kashmir and to reduce them over a period of time to the minimum strength required for civil maintenance of law and order. India was ordered to appraise the Commission of the stages at which steps had been taken to reduce military presence to the minimum strength and to arrange remaining troops after consultations with the Commission.

Among other instructions, India was ordered to agree that till the time the Plebiscite Administration found it necessary to exercise the powers of direction and supervision over the State forces and police, these forces would be held in areas to be agreed upon with the Plebiscite Administrator. It also directed India to recruit local personnel for law and order and to safeguard the rights of minorities.

Also read | J&K wasn’t alone, Constitution has ‘special provisions’ for 11 other states

How did India & Pakistan react to the UNSC Resolution 47?

Both countries rejected Resolution 47. India’s contention was that the resolution ignored the military invasion by Pakistan and placing both nations on an equal diplomatic ground was a dismissal of Pakistan’s aggression and the fact that the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession.

India also objected to the Resolution’s requirement that did not allow India to retain military presence which it believed it needed for defence. The Resolution’s order to form a coalition government, would also put Sheikh Abdullah, the Prime Minister of the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, in a difficult position. India also believed that the powers conferred on the Plebiscite Administrator undermined the state’s sovereignty. India also wanted Pakistan to be excluded from the operations of the plebiscite.

Pakistan on the other hand, objected to even the minimum presence of Indian forces in Kashmir, as allowed by the resolution. It also wanted an equal representation in the state government for the Muslim Conference, which was the dominant party in Pakistani-held Kashmir. Despite their differences with the provisions of Resolution 47, both India and Pakistan welcomed the UN Commission and agreed to work with it.

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