India on Friday said that the country’s national position was and remains that matters related to Kashmir are “entirely an internal matter”, after a rare closed-door meeting at the United Nations Security Council to discuss New Delhi’s move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting was called after Pakistan — backed by its all-weather ally — China, requested “closed consultations” on the issue.
Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the government is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir and the government is undertaking steps towards normalcy.
“Prevention is better than cure. Measures we took were preventive in nature. These efforts sometimes lead to restrictions. There was not one fatality,” Mr Akbaruddin told reporters at the UN.
“These have no external ramifications, the recent decisions taken by the Government of India and our legislative bodies are intended to ensure that good governance is promoted, social economic development is enhance for our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.
Taking a swipe at Pakistan, Mr Akbaruddin said Islamabad should stop terror and start talks. He said Pakistan was trying to project an alarmist approach to the situation which is far from ground realities. “Of particular concern is that one state is using terminology of ‘jihad‘ against and promoting violence in India including by their leaders,” he said.
The outcome of the UNSC meeting will not be a formal pronouncement as the consultations are informal in nature. India and Pakistan did not attend the meeting, which was open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.
The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations said that members of the UNSC generally feel both India and Pakistan should refrain from taking unilateral actions over Kashmir. The situation in Kashmir is “already very tense and dangerous,” said Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun.
China is a permanent member of the UNSC and a close ally of Pakistan.
On August 5, India ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, and said it would be split into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Russia’s deputy permanent representative, Dimitry Polyanskiy 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. “That’s what closed consultations are for. What does Russia think the next step should be- we favour bilateral track between India and Pakistan. You know our position. It hasn’t changed. Today, we have closed consultations and we will just exchange opinions and see what we can do and what we cannot do. It is a normal process.”
When asked if Russia was concerned over the tense situation between India and Pakistan, he said, “we are very much concerned. We hope to avoid it.”