Indo-Pak Relations: UN chief offers to resolve issues

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UNITED NATIONS: With Pakistan announcing that the bilateral peace process with India has been “suspended”, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has said that the offer of his “good offices” to help resolve the conflict stands but it is up to both nations to seek it.

“Whenever there is a conflict, an issue, between Member States, the Secretary-General’s offer for good offices stands as a matter of principle. But, that has to be agreed on and asked for by both parties,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

Dujarric was responding to a question at his daily briefing yesterday about whether the Secretary-General would like to offer his good offices given that the peace talks between India and Pakistan were “interrupted” again.

Introducing a fresh chill in Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit on April 7 said the bilateral peace process stands “suspended”.

He also poured cold water on India’s expectations that a team of NIA investigators would be allowed to visit Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot terror strike probe on the basis of reciprocity, a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) having just concluded a visit to India.

India, however, countered the Pakistan High Commissioner’s assertion that the visit by Pakistani JIT was not on reciprocity and said that before the team’s visit, both sides had agreed that it would be on the basis of reciprocity.

Reacting to Basit’s remarks that the Indo-Pak peace process stands “suspended”, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup referred to the press conference of Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nafees Zakaria in which he had said, “I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out.”

India likely to raise Masood issue with China

India is expected to take up the issue of China blocking its bid to have Pakistan-based terror group JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN when NSA Ajit Doval travels to the neighbouring country next week.

Top government sources said on Saturday the National Security Adviser will bring up the topic during his meeting with his counterpart and state councillor Yang Jiechi when he meets him in China for a strategic dialogue.

Doval was scheduled to hold these talks in January but had cancelled the visit to Beijing in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack. Among other security issues, boundary talks are also expected to be held between the two sides.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar early this week said that India has taken up at a “fairly high level” with China the issue of Beijing blocking its bid to have Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN but the issue will not “overflow” into other areas of bilateral ties.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is also expected to raise the issue with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, whom she will be meeting on the sidelines of a trilateral in Moscow on April 18.

Last week, China stopped UN sanctions committee from designating Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case “did not meet the requirements” of the Security Council.

This is not the first time China has blocked India’s bid to get Pakistan-based militant groups and leaders proscribed by the UN.

The UN had banned the JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts for slapping sanctions on Azhar after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack did not fructify as China, that has veto powers, did not allow it apparently at the behest of Pakistan again.

 

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