On Wednesday, when a closed-door meeting of the UNSC was called to discuss an issue relating to Mali, an African country, China made a request to discuss the Kashmir issue under the agenda of 'Any Other Business Points'. The move by China was the third such attempt since August 2019, when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
But, French diplomatic sources said the country has noted the request, and that France was going to oppose it like it did on previous occasions. Accordingly, on Thursday, according to reports, China and Pakistan stood isolated in their attempts to get the Security Council to raise the Kashmir issue. With the help of France and other allies in the UNSC, the attempt failed as a common refrain emerged that Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. All other 14 member nations refused to entertain the disucussion, according to reports.
“UNSC discussed #Kashmir in closed consultations. Russia firmly stands for the normalisation of relations between #India and #Pakistan. We hope that differences between them will be settled through bilateral efforts based on the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration," Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's UN representative, tweeted.
UNSC discussed #Kashmir in closed consultations. Russia firmly stands for the normalisation of relations between #India and #Pakistan. We hope that differences between them will be settled through bilateral efforts based on the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration— Dmitry Polyanskiy (@Dpol_un) January 15, 2020
India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, said: "We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN fail in plain view of all others. We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today," Akbaruddin told PTI.
"We are glad that the effort was viewed as a distraction and it was pointed by many friends that bilateral mechanisms are available to raise and address issues that Pakistan may have in its ties with India," he said.
Akbaruddin later tweeted: "Today @UN...our flag is flying high. Those that launched a “False Flag” effort got a stinging response from our many friends... "
Coming out of the meeting, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said: "We had a meeting on Jammu and Kashmir. And I am sure you all know that the foreign minister of Pakistan wrote letters to the Security Council asking the Security Council to pay attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir."
"The issue of India and Pakistan has always been on the agenda of the Security Council, and today we have also seen some tensions, so the Security Council had a briefing concerning the current situation on the ground. Members exchanged views on that". Zhang later said China "has stated our position very clearly. We remain concern about the situation on the ground [in Kashmir]".
The current move by China, Pakistan's all-weather friend, was the third such attempt since Article 370 was scrapped in Jammu and Kashmir. In August, China pushed for a UNSC meeting on Kashmir. However, the meeting did not yield desired results for China as the member-states maintained that India's move was an internal issue. Then, China had formally asked for closed consultations in the Security Council to discuss India's move after Pakistan wrote a letter on the issue to Poland. The rare closed consultations on Kashmir by the Security Council on August 16 ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful UN organ, dealing a huge snub to Pakistan's efforts.
Last month, France, the US, the UK and Russia foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.
China has been critical of India's reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, and has particularly criticised New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh.
2019 a year of gains
2019 was a year of great gains in the UN for India, with its bid for a non-permanent seat in the powerful Security Council for the 2021-22 term unanimously endorsed by the Asia-Pacific group. Elections for five non-permanent members for the two-year term 2021-22 will be held around June. India is expected to register a smooth victory in the elections that will bring New Delhi back on the horse-shoe high table of the Security Council for the eighth term.
In February, the powerful 15-nation Security Council issued a press statement, condemning in the strongest terms "the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Pulwama", which killed 40 CRPF personnel. Just over two months later, India won a major victory when the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Security Council blacklisted Azhar on May 1 after veto-wielding permanent member China lifted its technical hold on the proposal by the US, the UK and France to sanction him.
-Inputs from PTI