Even as Pakistan kept urging the international players to intervene in India's step to abrogate Article 370, thereby integrating Jammu and Kashmir, UN Security Council on Friday just held a rare closed door meeting to discuss the matter. After Pakistan's repeated begging to China which is a permanent member in the UNSC, China requested UN to have a "closed consultations" on the issue. However the meeting is informal in nature and the outcome of the UNSC meeting will not be a formal pronouncement as the consultations are informal in nature. The deliberations began at 10 am (7:30pm IST) in the Security Council Consultations Room.
Russia's deputy permanent representative, Dimitry Polyanskiy told reporters before entering the meeting room that Moscow's view is that it is a "bilateral issue" between India and Pakistan. He said the meeting was being held to understand what is happening. "That's what closed consultations are for. What does Russia think the next step should be- we favour bilateral track between india and Pakistan. You know our position. It hasn't changed. Today we have closed consultations and we will just exchange opinions and see what we can do and what we cannot do. It is a normal process."
When asked if Russia was concerned over the tense situation between India and Pakistan, Polyanskiy said, "we are very much concerned. We hope to avoid it. Asked if the Council can play a useful role, he replied, "We first need to discuss and then we'll see." Replying to another question, he said, "sometimes it is better not to touch upon such an issue. It's a bilateral issue," the Russian diplomat said.
On August 5, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and has also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Reacting to India's decision, Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner soon after deciding to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi. India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
It is significant that the discussions are not being held at the horse-shoe table in the Security Council Chamber, which is a more formal format for meetings. In a setback to Pakistan's intentions, the consultations on its letter to the Council are closed and informal and there will unlikely be a formal pronouncement after the meeting, diplomatic sources said.
In another setback, Pakistan the letter to the UNSC had requested that its representative be allowed to participate in the meeting, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council. But Pakistan's request was not allowed, the sources said. A UN diplomat had told PTI 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 Security Council President Joanna Wronecka," the diplomat said. Poland is the Security Council President for the month of August.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged India and Pakistan to exercise "maximum restraint" and refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. He had highlighted the Simla Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue. He also urged the two neighbouring countries to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir while highlighting the Shimla Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue.
Pakistan formally called for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss India revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday. Last Friday, Qureshi had air-dashed to Beijing for urgent consultations with the Chinese leadership on the issue of raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. During his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday in Beijing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed that India's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter. He said the issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country. Jaishankar emphasised to Wang that these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter. "It did not impact the LoC. Where India Pakistan relations are concerned, Chinese side should base its assessment on realities. India, as a responsible power, had shown restraint in face of provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions. India has always stood for normalisation of the ties in an atmosphere free of terror," the minister said.