UN Discusses Kashmir For Third Time Since India Ended Autonomy

The UN’s most powerful body did not take any action or issue a statement after the virtual meeting behind closed doors.

The UN Security Council discussed disputed Kashmir at Pakistan’s request on Wednesday for the third time since India’s Hindu nationalist government decided to end the Muslim-majority region’s semi-autonomy a year ago.

The United Nations’s most powerful body did not take any action or issue a statement after the virtual meeting held behind closed doors.

Nonetheless, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said afterwards holding the meeting signified “that Jammu and Kashmir is an international dispute firmly on the agenda of the Security Council and has nullified, yet another time, the Indian self-serving claim that it is an ‘internal matter’.”

On August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Indian-administered Kashmir’s statehood, scrapped its separate constitution and removed inherited protections on land and jobs.

The UNSC held its first closed consultations on Kashmir since 1971 following India’s surprise action in August 2019 to change the Himalayan region’s status [File: Carlo Allegri/Reuters]

But the government said the change was necessary to develop the disputed region and integrate it with the rest of India, but it infuriated many Kashmiris as well as neighbouring Pakistan.

Qureshi said in remarks circulated by Pakistan’s UN mission the international community “should exercise its moral, legal and political authority to call out India to reverse the tide of impunity and stop genocide of the Kashmiri people.”

‘Unilateral actions’

He urged India to reverse its unilateral actions, stop human rights and ceasefire violations, remove restrictions on communications, movement and peaceful assembly and immediately release Kashmir’s leaders.

The Pakistani minister expressed gratitude to the 15 UNSC members, especially China, for their support in organising the meeting in the face of India’s “desperate attempts to prevent this discussion”. When it went ahead, Qureshi said India tried “to minimise the importance and significance of the meeting”.

“China is seriously concerned about the current situation in Kashmir and the relevant military actions. We oppose unilateral actions that will complicate the situation,” China’s mission to the UN in New York said in a statement.