Pushed by China, the United Nations Security Council met Friday for a closed-door, informal consultation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir but there were no statements or outcomes. US President Donald Trump, who received a call from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan before the UNSC meeting, said India and Pakistan must reduce tensions over J&K through bilateral dialogue.
Barring China, no other UNSC member commented on the meeting after it ended given that it was an informal consultation.
China’s envoy to the UN Zhang Jun said UNSC members were “concerned about the human rights situation there and also it’s the general view of members that parties concerned should refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension”.
Rebutting the Chinese envoy’s claim, India’s Permanent UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said Zhang was trying to pass off his own remarks as “the will of the international community”.
“For the first time after the end of Security Council consultations, we noted that two states (China and Pakistan) who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community,” he said.
The White House, referring to Imran Khan’s call to Trump before the meeting, said: “The President conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Dimitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative, told reporters before entering the meeting room that Moscow’s view is that it is a “bilateral issue” between India and Pakistan. He said the meeting was being held to understand what is happening.
Akbaruddin, while taking questions from Pakistani journalists outside the UNSC meeting venue, said India is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir.
“India remains committed to ensure that the situation in Kashmir remains calm and peaceful. We are committed to all the agreements that we have signed on this issue. We note that there are some who try to project an alarmist approach to the situation, which is far from the ground realities.”
Underlining that the revocation of J&K special status is “an internal matter of India and these have no external ramifications” he said: “Stop terror to start talks.”
The UNSC decided to hold “informal consultations” on J&K after China approached Poland, which holds the UNSC presidency this month, to discuss Pakistan’s letter on India’s move to revoke J&K’s special status and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
The Chinese envoy said “the unilateral action by India has changed the status quo in Kashmir, which is an internationally recognised dispute… India’s actions have also challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreements in maintaining peace and stability in the border areas, and China is very much concerned. I want to emphasise that such unilateral practice by India is not valid in relation to China, and will not change China’s exercise of sovereignty and effective administrative jurisdiction over the territory.”
“Both India and Pakistan are China’s friendly neighbours, and both are major developing countries. Both India and Pakistan are at a crucial stage of development. We call on the two sides to set store of the developments of peace in South Asia and discard this zero-sum game mentality and settle disputes peacefully and maintain peace and security in the region collectively and jointly,” he said.
Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi described her country’s push for the UNSC meeting as “the first and not the last step”.