Envoy Akbaruddin calls out both for claiming their positions reflected international opinion. Pakistan’s attempt to corner India over Jammu & Kashmir at the UNSC fell flat on Friday as no members, except China, reportedly felt the need to intervene in India’s internal affairs

While Russia, France and the UK reportedly supported India’s position, China said the situation in J&K was of ‘utmost concern’. Russia’s UN representative described it as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan where the UN has no role to play.

While it was clear that China and Pakistan stood isolated at the highest diplomatic forum of the world, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi tried to change the optics, saying the very fact the UNSC discussed J&K was “testimony to the fact that this is an internationally recognised dispute”.

Soon after Pakistan and China sought to pass off their view as that of the UNSC’s collective position, Indian envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin set the record straight and put Pakistan on the mat for exporting terror.

“For the first time after the end of Security Council consultations, we noted that two states (China and Pakistan) who made national statements tried to pass them off as the will of the international community,” he said.

Talking to reporters after an informal UNSC meeting — convened at the request of China and Pakistan — he said India’s position has always been that matters related to Article 370 are entirely an internal affair that has no external ramification.

He said Pakistan was trying to project an “alarmist approach” to the situation in J&K. “Stop terror to start talks,” was his message to Pakistan.

The outcome of the UNSC meeting was not announced through a statement as the consultations were informal. Neither India nor Pakistan attended the meeting, which was open to the five permanent and 10 non-permanent members.

Explaining India’s plan to gradually remove all restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, Akbaruddin said, “We are committed to all the agreements that we have signed on this issue.”

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Friday urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to diplomatically engage with India to defuse the J&K crisis.

The first nuclear threat came from General Zia-ul-Haq in 1987 when he said, “Pakistan will annihilate Indian cities,” recalled Vinod Kumar, adding, “Pakistan has continuously exploited our peaceful intentions and dragged us into their game.” It was Pakistan that tested Nasr, a tactical nuclear missile, and dragged India into the game. “But Pakistan deliberately kept its nuclear policy ambiguous by not issuing any doctrine or official statement till date,” he added.

Pointing towards a much bigger strategic overhang on India, Vinod felt Friday’s statement has taken away the bargaining chip from Pakistan and their blackmailing is turned upside down. “Today’s statement was a signal to Pakistan. What India needs is a doctrine that addresses the two nuclear nations in its neighbourhood. There has to be an independent approach towards India-Pakistan and India-China spheres,” he said.

Sources privy to the matter also informed that India has for long been discussing whether NFU should prevail if there is credible intelligence of Pakistan preparing to strike with nuclear weapons. Rajnath Singh appears to have hinted at a change in the strategic thought process.

Karnad also talked of shifting the focus towards China. “We have to be prepared to face China and, thus, place our weapons and missiles to handle them. Pakistan is not a strategic threat.” 

On the political front, the Congress wanted to know if there was a change in the nuclear policy. “This is a very serious issue and it cannot be communicated in ambiguity. There is need for clarity on this and I urge the government to come out clearly,” Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said.