“Closed Consultation” At UN Security Council Today Over India’s J&K Move

The UN Security Council will meet today to discuss India’s decision to revoke Article 370, which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan wrote a letter on the issue to the world body.

China, Pakistan’s closest ally, has asked for “closed consultations” in the UN Security Council, which will meet at 10 am local time (7:30 pm IST) to discuss the matter.

A UN diplomat had told news agency Press Trust of India that China had asked for closed consultations on the Security Council agenda item ‘India Pakistan Question’. “The request was in reference to the Pakistani letter to the UN Security Council President,” the diplomat said.

The Council’s schedule said “Security Council consultations (closed) India/Pakistan”, listed for 10 am.

Closed meetings are not open to the public and no verbatim record of statements is kept. Consultations are informal meetings of the Security Council members and are not covered in the Repertoire.

The Repertoire, mandated by the UN General Assembly, provides comprehensive coverage of the Security Council’s interpretation and application of the United Nations Charter and its own Provisional Rules of Procedure since 1946. Its primary purpose is to provide member states, including those elected to serve on the Security Council, the United Nations system, academics and others with a source of information regarding the evolving practice of the UN Security Council.

According to UN records, the last time “the Security Council addressed the dispute between India and Pakistan over the territories of Jammu and Kashmir” under agenda item ‘The India-Pakistan question’ was in 1964-65. Then, by a letter dated January 16, 1964, the representative of Pakistan had requested the President of the Council to “convene an immediate meeting” of the Council to consider the Kashmir situation.

India had asserted that the Pakistani request was “a propaganda move.” The issue of Kashmir was also raised under a separate agenda item ‘Situation in the India/Pakistan subcontinent’ in 1969-1971.

Following India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan formally called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss India’s move, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Mr Qureshi sent a formal letter to the president of the UN Security Council, Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, through Pakistan’s Permanent Representative at the UN Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. Mr Qureshi said the letter will also be shared with all members of the UNSC.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also air-dashed to Beijing for consultation with the Chinese leadership on the issue of raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. He had also said that China backed Pakistan on the issue and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told him he believed “China will stand up for justice on the Kashmir issue”.

During his bilateral meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday in Beijing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed that the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter for India.

He said the issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country.

Mr Jaishankar noted that the legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development and there was no implication for either the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

“India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced,” he said.

Mr Jaishankar told Mr Wang that these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter.

After India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and announced the bifurcation of the state into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan announced that it will approach the UN Security Council against New Delhi’s decision.

India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal and sovereign matter and has also advised Pakistan to “accept the reality”.