A face-off between India and Pakistan at a meeting of National Security Advisors of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Tuesday, over a map that showed Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistani territory, led to NSA Ajit Doval leaving the engagement “in protest”.
The map was being used as a backdrop during the virtual meeting by Moeed Yusuf, Special Assistant on National Security to Pakistan PM Imran Khan.
“At the meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), hosted by the Chair of the SCO (Russia), the Pakistani NSA deliberately projected a fictitious map that Pakistan has recently been propagating,” the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
“This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting. After consultation with the host, the Indian side left the meeting in protest at that juncture,” Srivastava said. The meeting was chaired by Russian NSA Nikolai Patrushev.
The new political map was released by the Pakistan government on August 4, a day before the completion of a year since special status under Article 370 to J&K was revoked.
The map depicts J&K as part of Pakistani territory, as well as the areas of Sir Creek and Junagadh. At the time, India had described the move as an “exercise in political absurdity”.
On Tuesday, sources said, India made clear its “strong objection” to the “illegal map” even as the Russian side “tried very hard” to persuade Pakistan against its use. Pakistan’s move was also a “blatant violation of the SCO Charter” and “against all its established norms of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SCO Member States”, sources said.
According to sources, Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, conveyed that he was “personally very grateful” to Doval for attending the summit.
“Russia does not support what Pakistan has done and hopes that Pakistan’s provocative act will not affect India’s participation in the SCO, and definitely not cast any shadow on Patrushev’s warm personal relationship with the NSA for whom he has the highest regard,” sources said.
Pakistan’s ruling party, however, claimed that Doval’s objections to the map were “overruled”. “Today, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held its online meeting of National Security Advisors where India’s spurious claims were rejected,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tweeted.
“The SCO agreed to Pakistan’s position and Dr. Moeed Yusuf conducted the SCO meeting with Pakistan’s new political map as background for the discussions,” Khan’s party tweeted.
The MEA spokesperson said: “As was to be expected, Pakistan went on to present a misleading view of this meeting.”
When contacted, a Russian Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi pointed to the official statement issued after the meeting, which did not make any mention of the incident.
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