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India, Pakistan raise Kashmir issue in UN Security Council

By Dharam Shourie at United Nations
May 14, 2003 11:02 IST
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India and Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations Security Council, but did not attack each other as they had done several times in the past.

While New Delhi maintained that differences are best settled through bilateral negotiations, Islamabad said that a solution to the Kashmir issue can be achieved only after fulfilling the aspirations of the Kashmiris.

India's Permanent Representative at the UN, Vijay K Nambiar, repeatedly stressed that bilateral talks is advocated by the world body's charter and that such a course is also seen by 'distinguished jurists' as the 'most preferred method of settlement of disputes'.

Nambiar throughout his address did not name either Pakistan or Kashmir. But he did criticise continuous low-intensity proxy wars through infiltration, cross border terrorism and other means using force. He added that such a situation conferred the right of self-defence on the victim State.

He also effectively rejected the Pakistan's contention that there should be UN supervised plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir pointing to the fact that events have overtaken such an approach.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri, who presided over the meeting as his country is the president of the Council for the current month, agreed the Simla agreement and the Lahore Declaration to which both countries are parties support bilateral discussions. "At Agra summit in July 2001, Pakistan and India almost succeeded in launching a framework for revived talks," he said, but did not blame anyone for the failure.

He referred to the Kashmir issue and the Council resolution adopted following negotiations and agreement between the two countries which, he said, promised a 'free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices'.

But he did not directly blame India, saying that the process ran aground due to cold war when the Council could not persuade the parties to implement the resolution.

He did say that no durable peace is possible unless aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are taken into consideration and called for flexibility, goodwill and wisdom on both sides to resolve the issue.

He sought support of the international community to the fresh peace efforts of the two countries.

In an apparent reply to Kasuri's mention of the Security Council resolution, Nambiar, who spoke later, said where member States have agreed to implement resolution of the UN, they are justified in expecting such implementation to be complete and in the sequence agreed to without 'emasculation, revision or re-interpretation'.

Nambiar's reference obviously was to the provision in the resolution that Pakistan must first vacate the territory under its occupation before the subsequent provisions could be put into operation. Islamabad did not implement that provision.

"Where attempts are made to apply such resolutions selectively or in partial, self-serving manner, they have obviously not worked but have only served to subvert their original spirit. In some cases, their subtext has changed and they have proved obsolete, defunct and overtaken by events," he said.

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Dharam Shourie at United Nations
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