India-Pak Face-off at UN

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INDIA on Tuesday rejected Pakistan’s contention that the Kashmir issue is one of the most long-standing disputes at the United Nations (UN) in a fresh round of sparring between the neighbours at the world body. New Delhi asked Pakistan to instead focus on the unfinished task of tackling terrorism. Earlier in a video message on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sought fulfilment of the commitment made to Kashmiris by the UN to grant them their right to self-determination. He also criticized the UN for its inability to address the issues around the world saying the world body was being derided as “a talk shop” and its resolutions and decisions were being flouted. Qureshi also lamented the lack of international cooperation, especially in the Security Council.

But India in response sought to keep focus on the terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil. The First Secretary Vidisha Maitra termed Pakistan’s remarks on Kashmir as interference in India’s internal matters.

Such exchanges at the UN have become an intermittent ritual pursued for its own sake. And it will continue in future. Such exchanges are like the bilateral dialogue between the two countries where only their respective positions on the state are reiterated and nothing is resolved. But while the two countries have learnt to get on with the protracted conflict in Kashmir, the people of the state have to pay an unconscionable price for it on a daily basis. Around 70,000 people have lost their lives in the three decade long violent conflict in the state. These killings, in turn, have left behind a massive humanitarian fallout. What is more, this violence is not only continuing but growing stronger by the day. More and more youth are getting consumed in this fire. And there is no end in sight to this tragedy.

India, Pakistan rivalry is only adding to the deadlock. Pakistan’s efforts over the past many years to internationalize Kashmir have hardly borne any fruit. Except when there is a crisis, world doesn’t seem to care much about what is happening in the state. New Delhi largely controls the way the world looks at Kashmir. In fact, in recent years the world is now more partial towards India’s point of view on the state – albeit there has been some partial rethink on this since the revocation of Article 370 in August last year. But Kashmir continues to be largely seen more as an issue between India and Pakistan than a movement led by the people of the state. This depressing state of affairs has led to perpetuation of the bloodshed in Kashmir and undermined chances of a settlement in the foreseeable future. Only ray of hope is for India and Pakistan to talk and sort the issue between themselves.

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