WASHINGTON: China made another bid on Wednesday to raise the Kashmir issue at a closed-door meeting in the UN Security Council on behalf of its client state Pakistan, only to be rebuffed by France and other permanent members who maintain the matter should be resolved bilaterally.
The visit this week to New York City and Washington DC of Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appeared to be the trigger for China to make a token effort in support of Islamabad, which has been trying furiously to work up some lather in the international community for its long-serving “cause.” But there was no joy for the visiting minister as France took the lead role, as it did some months ago, in countering China’s provocation and shutting out any extended debate.
In any case, the matter was to be discussed informally and in camera in the “any other business” category, which means there would be no written records or resolutions about a matter that has long been a political and diplomatic weapon in the Pakistan-China arsenal. Both countries face internal strife.
In an effort to counter the Pakistan-China moves, India has gone about trying to show that things are largely normal in Kashmir and Ladakh with resumption of communication and travel, even if a few areas in the Valley are unsettled. Fears (and expectations from Pakistan) of large-scale insurrection and “genocide” have proved demonstrably false despite alarms about New Delhi’s heavy-handedness and stray cases of violence.
India has prepared the ground well for demonstrating that normal life is returning to the region, taking a delegation of foreign envoys, including the US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, to Kashmir, and announcing resumption of communication, including mobile telephony.
New Delhi has also taken a tough line with Malaysia and Turkey — Pakistan’s latest supporters on the issue after Islamabad lost ground in the Gulf and Arab world – with punitive measures that will cost them economically. Pakistan’s fictitious and overwrought campaign about large scale insurrection, state violence, and genocide, has also not impressed major global powers, which continue to engage New Delhi economically and with high-level visits of the kind Islamabad doesn’t see.
Absent such engagement, Pakistan has taken it upon itself to play the peacemaker between Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of which are disdainful of Islamabad, in an effort to get some diplomatic leverage.
After visiting Teheran and Riyadh this week, Foreign Minister Qureshi will travel from New York (where he was on a Mission Kashmir) to Washington DC on Thursday to bring results of his shuttle diplomacy to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. He will also brief his interlocutors on the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.