UNSC accepts India's efforts in Kashmir, wants all to follow suit: Envoy
By Arul Louis
United Nations, Aug 16 (IANS) The Security Council has acknowledged India's measures to bring normalcy and development to Kashmir and wants all countries to follow suit, India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters after its informal meeting, he outlined the various steps being taken by India since the special status of Kashmir was rescinded and said, "We are gratified that the Security Council in its closed consultations appreciated these efforts, acknowledged them and indicated that this is the direction in which they would like the international community to move."
The Council met Friday morning for about an hour in a closed-door consultation at the request of China.
In the format of an informal consultation, it was held without public access. Council President Joanna Wronecka did not speak to the media or issue any advisory about the meeting.
Taking advantage of the vacuum, China's Permanent Representative Zhang Jun told reporters after the meeting that the Council members received "briefings, the reports from the Secretariat, especially including the briefing from the military observer group on the ground that helped us understand the situation better."
His appearance before the media was arranged by Pakistan, whose Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi also spoke to the media.
She claimed the meeting was in response to Pakistan request -- however, the Council had rejected its request for an open meeting with Pakistan speaking at it.
Akbaruddin dismissed their version of the Council session, saying they have tried to pass off national stands "as the will of the international community" and "masquerade as the will of the international community."
"We are committed to, and consistent with our previous position, that all issues between India and Pakistan, as well as with any other country will be resolved bilaterally, peacefully and in a manner that behoves normal inter-state relations between countries," he said.
Akbaruddin declared that "our national position is that matters related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution are entirely an internal matter of India. These have no external ramification."
"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 enhanced for the people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh," he added.
The Security Council had declined a request from Pakistan to hold a full-fledged meeting on Kashmir. China, however, stepped in and using its prerogative a Council member asked for a closed-door consultation.
The consultation was officially labelled "India/Pakistan," avoiding any direct association with Kashmir.
Except China, all the other four permanent members of the Council have openly backed New Delhi's position that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral matters, with the United States even saying that the Kashmir developments are an internal matter of India.
After finding that none of the other members of the Council wanted such a session, China made a request for the scaled-down closed-door consultation, which would preclude Pakistan speaking at it, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the Council workings.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)