As foreign ambassadors reached out to the government for clarity on the move to scrap the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories, New Delhi moved quickly to brief foreign envoys, especially the members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Sources said that the briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and other secretaries, who briefed the ambassadors of the US, UK, France, China and Russia, among others. Some other major countries, including Germany, Canada, Japan and ASEAN countries, were also briefed.
The UNSC members were chosen for the first batch of briefing since Pakistan is expected to take up the issue there. Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria to the Foreign Office on Monday and conveyed a “strong demarche on the announcements made and actions taken” by the government over Jammu and Kashmir.
Incidentally, none of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries have been briefed by the government so far, according to sources. Delhi also wants to minimise the briefing on what it considers an “internal” matter, and not allow “external players” to intervene or make statements. More countries may be briefed in the next few days.
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A source explained, “This is not a Balakot-type situation. We were briefing the envoys since we wanted to explain the developments in the correct perspective.” Sources explained that ambassadors have been briefed earlier by the government on various issues, including issues like Kumbh mela etc.
In the briefings, it was conveyed that the “decisions were internal to India” and they are aimed at “providing good governance, promoting social justice and ensuring economic development in Jammu and Kashmir”, sources said.
In the light of interest expressed by members of the diplomatic community, senior MEA officials briefed the envoys of several countries, the sources said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Bisaria was summoned by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. “The Foreign Secretary conveyed Pakistan’s unequivocal rejection of these illegal actions as they are in breach of international law and several UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement said.
Pakistan’s “resolute condemnation of the unlawful actions aimed at further consolidating the illegal occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir was underscored, it added.
Meanwhile, a PTI report from Islamabad said Pakistan President Arif Alvi has summoned a joint session of the Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
The joint sitting will review the tense situation in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control.
UN urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint
United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following with concern the tense situation in the India-Pakistan region and urges all parties to exercise restraint, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said here on Monday.
“We are following with concern the tense situation in the region… We urge all parties to exercise restraint,” Dujarric said at the daily press briefing, adding that the UN is also aware of reports of restrictions in Kashmir.
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