ART 370: MOVES ON KASHMIR “INTERNAL”, INDIA TELLS WORLD ANIRBAN BHAUMIK
New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale briefed the envoys of the five permanent members
NEW DELHI: India on Monday reached out to United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and several other nations – explaining that its latest move on Jammu and Kashmir was an “internal” affair and intended to ensure “good governance” in the State. Soon after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government announced its decisions to strip Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) of the special status granted to it by the Article 370 of the Constitution as well as to reorganize the State into two Union Territories; the senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) briefed several foreign envoys based in New Delhi about the objective of the move. Article 370 scrapped: Live Updates Govt bites the bullet, scraps J&K special status The Government started reaching out to the key foreign nations as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Government in Islamabad already indicated that Pakistan would once again step up efforts to internationalize its dispute with India over Kashmir in the wake of the latest moves by New Delhi. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (West) A Gitesh Sarma and Secretary (Economic Relations) T S Tirumurti along with other senior officials of the MEA briefed the envoys of the five permanent members and some of the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as well as several other nations in New Delhi. Sources said that the MEA had arranged the briefings “in the light of interest expressed by members of the diplomatic community in New Delhi”. The MEA officials conveyed to the foreign envoys that the proposals on Jammu and Kashmir were “currently under consideration of the Parliament of India” and were “internal to India”. They also underlined that the proposals were aimed at “providing good governance, promoting social justice and ensuring economic development in Jammu and Kashmir”. New Delhi made it clear that it would resist any move by Islamabad to “internationalize” the bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan. The MEA officials reiterated to the foreign envoys New Delhi’s position that Simla Agreement inked by India and Pakistan in 1972 and the Lahore Declaration in 1999 had left no scope for any third party to get involved in the process to resolve the “outstanding issues” between the two neighbouring nations. They said that any discussion on the issue of Kashmir must be held bilaterally between India and Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday called upon US President Donald Trump to intervene to stop India from continuing its aggressive actions in Kashmir and along the Line of Control between the two South Asian nations. Trump last month claimed during a news-conference with Khan in Washington D.C. that Modi had asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan to help resolve the issue of Kashmir. New Delhi refuted the claim by the US President, who, however, reiterated the offer last week. Islamabad is likely to make an attempt to nudge Washington D.C. to take a critical stand on New Delhi’s moves on Kashmir – given the fact that Trump Administration is relying heavily on Pakistan to secure a peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan. Khan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that Pakistan would discuss with the United States the issue of India’s “illegal and unilateral” moves on Kashmir during the visit of Alice G Wells, American Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, to Islamabad. Islamabad’s latest move to internationalize its dispute with New Delhi over Kashmir started last Saturday, when Pakistan Army accused Indian Army of using cluster munitions in violation of international humanitarian law and India’s commitments under the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. “(The) UNSC must take note of this international threat to peace & (and) security,” Khan posted on Twitter on Sunday.