What Did UN Security Council Consultation On Kashmir Achieve? Not Much.
Faran Jeffery affiliated with a UK based think tank dissects the recent closed door meeting of United Nations Security Council and concludes that it is not going to change anything but has given both Pakistan and India enough to appease their domestic constituencies.
The United Nations Security Council’s closed meeting on Kashmir is being hailed as a major diplomatic victory in Pakistan but the question remains: what did it mean for the Kashmiris or for the situation on ground? The answer to both of those questions is: not much.
To begin with, diplomacy was always meant to produce very limited results considering that India took the military option in Kashmir. Even a UNSC resolution couldn’t actually force India to backtrack from its decision to scrap Article 370. Pakistan did manage to score some PR points by taking the issue to the UNSC, where it was once again discussed after decades. To understand why even the closed meeting is being dubbed as a major success in Pakistan, one needs to understand that Pakistani state has historically used Kashmir as a beating stick to keep the heat on India, with little interest in actually improving the human rights situation on the ground. In fact, Pakistan’s politics over Kashmir largely relies on India carrying out human rights violations and showing irresponsible behavior.
On the other hand, militancy in Kashmir, with most of it being historically Pakistan-backed in some form, provides India a good excuse to continue to violate human rights. Indian government used the same excuse to scrap Article 370, telling domestic and international audience that the action was necessary to curb ‘Pakistan-backed terrorism’ in the valley. In short, one would not survive without the other.
With the UNSC closed meeting, Pakistani government got something to show to its domestic audience to pacify their anger over the Indian move on Kashmir. If past UN resolutions couldn’t deter India from annexing Kashmir, any future UN action won’t achieve that either.
This time at the UNSC, the United States, France and Russia sided with India with Russia taking a somewhat more balanced position by backing China over its request for formal meeting. Only China fully sided with Pakistan. A major reason for China’s support for Pakistan on this issue is China’s own issue with India over Ladakh. The United Kingdom that has a sizeable Kashmiri diaspora, followed a rather tight balancing act. The meeting couldn’t find a consensus for a future formal meeting on Kashmir.
Following the closed meeting, China and Pakistan attempted to voice their own position as the global position, which didn’t work. On the other hand, India got another opportunity to voice its concerns regarding what it says is ‘Pakistan-backed terrorism’ in Kashmir and justify its latest actions in Kashmir, and used the result, i.e, lack of consensus for a formal meeting, as its own diplomatic victory.
In short, both India and Pakistan got something from the meeting to call it a victory at home.
As someone who is more concerned about the human rights conditions of Kashmiris on the ground and not the cynical politics of India and Pakistan over Kashmir, I am inclined to not take this UNSC meet very seriously. It brought no good news for Kashmiris while giving both India and Pakistan few sticks to beat each other with for a month or two.
In the end, the big question that needs to be answered is, did India get away with its recent move on Kashmir? The answer to that is, most likely yes.