Kashmir: Russia backs India as China takes Pakistani line

Kashmir: Russia backs India as China takes Pakistani line

Permanent members of the UN Security Council China and Russia are taking divergent positions on any consultations by the council on the Kashmir issue.

While China may try to initiate informal consultations in UNSC on Kashmir at the behest of all-weather ally Pakistan, India’s traditional partner Russia is trying to discourage any discussion in the council on the issue.

“On August 14, at the initiative of the Pakistani side, a telephone conversation took place between Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Mr. S.M. Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” said an official statement from Russia.

“The situation in South Asia was discussed amid the worsening relations between Pakistan and India after New Delhi changed the legal status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Russian side emphasised the need for de-escalation of tensions, and that there is no alternative to resolve differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally through political and diplomatic means. Representatives of Russia to the UN adhere to this consistent position,” Russia said in a statement issued in Moscow.

Moscow has made it clear that the matter is bilateral in nature and UN has no role in it. Delhi and Moscow remain engaged on the issue and the matter will be on the agenda when PM Narendra Modi travels to Vladivostok for Eastern Economic Forum and annual summit September 4-6. Moscow will hold monthly rotating presidency of UNSC in September.

Last Saturday, Russia became the first P-5 country to describe India’s move on Kashmir as internal and called for resolution under the Shimla Agreement of 1972.

Traditionally, Moscow supported India’s position on Kashmir and erstwhile Soviet Union vetoed number of resolutions on Kashmir in UNSC during the Cold War period.

India, on its part, is trying to deter the Chinese move through other members of UNSC including permanent member France. Members of the European Union, who are currently in UNSC, may also be inclined to support India after EU gave a statement describing Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan refusing to internationalise it.

“The European Union supports a bilateral political solution between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, which remains the only way to solve a long-lasting dispute that causes instability and insecurity in the region,” according to the statement.

ET had earlier reported that Pakistan will find it difficult to initiate formal consultations in UNSC on Kashmir and push for informal consultations. Pakistan has also failed to include Kashmir issue in the Any Other Business category in UNSC last week.

Even as Islamabad asked for an emergency meeting of UNSC on Kashmir, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi himself admitted that Pakistan’s support is on the wane due to India’s economic prowess.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, he said many countries in the world have economic interests in India. “Though we happen to talk about the Ummah and Islam… the guardians of Ummah have made investments and have interests in India, which is a market of one billion people,” he said, without naming any state.

While traditional Pakistan ally UAE has described India’s move as internal, Saudi Arabia has entered into a major energy deal with India.

He then observed that no one was waiting for Pakistan at the Security Council “with garlands” and added that any of the P5 members could create an obstacle.

“Do you have any doubt? You shouldn’t have any,” he told to reporters adding that people should not to live in a fool’s paradise. “Let the people of Pakistan and Kashmir be aware of it … As such the atmosphere is not favourable [for us].”

The Economic Times