China reportedly requested “closed consultations” in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this week to address India’ decision to revoke New Delhi-administered Kashmir’s limited autonomy.
Beijing’s request came after Pakistan wrote a letter to the UNSC asking for a meeting to discuss Kashmir.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.N. diplomat told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that China asked for the meeting recently. The envoy indicated that the meeting could take place as early as Friday.
“China asked for closed consultations on the Security Council agenda item ‘India Pakistan Question’. The request was in reference to the Pakistani letter to Security Council President,” the diplomat revealed.
China is one of the UNSC’s five permanent members.
This week, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi revealed that Islamabad formally called for an emergency UNSC to discuss India’s Kashmir decision.
Last week, India annulled New Delhi-administered Kashmir’s special autonomy, prompting rebukes from China and Pakistan.
Qureshi requested the emergency UNSC meeting in a letter to the international body’s president for August, Joanna Wronecka from Poland, unveiled Wednesday, Reuters reported.
After traveling to Beijing in the wake of India’s Kashmir decision, the Pakistani foreign minister claimed China was on board with its request for a UNSC meeting.
PTI learned from the unnamed diplomat that China also made a formal request for an urgent UNSC meeting to discuss Kashmir. However, Poland indicated that it has to consult other security council members before deciding on the time and date for the meeting.
On Thursday, Reuters quoted UNSC President Wronecka as saying that “the UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16.”
Asked about the timing of the potential gathering, Wronecka said, “Most probably on Friday as the Security Council would not operate on Thursday,” Geo News reported.
Nevertheless, the anonymous diplomat said the UNSC had made no final decision on the time of the potential meeting yet and Friday morning is the “earliest realistic option” for the gathering.
India has repeatedly argued that its move to strip Indian Kashmir of its limited autonomy is an internal matter. New Delhi has urged Pakistan to “accept the reality,” PTI noted.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended New Delhi’s Kashmir moves in a speech marking India’s Independence Day on Thursday.
The PM and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had long promised to take New Delhi-controlled Kashmir’s autonomy. Modi and his party won a landslide victory during the Indian elections this year.
The BJP has repeatedly argued its Kashmir decision will reduce violence and the volatile region and improve economic conditions.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, and China all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Last week, India’s Hindu-nationalist government rescinded New Delhi-controlled Kashmir’s special status and broke the region into two areas administered by its federal government. As part of the move, New Delhi declared a portion of China-administered Kashmir to belong to India, drawing Beijing’s ire.
During his trip to Beijing Monday, India’s Extern Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said China’s concerns are “misplaced.”
“India was not raising any additional territorial claims,” the Indian minister argued. “The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced.”
The Indian minister also stressed that its Kashmir decision is an internal matter, arguing that it had no bearing on China or Pakistan.
Jaishankar reportedly said:
It did not impact the LoC [Line of Control]. Where India Pakistan relations are concerned, Chinese side should base its assessment on realities. India, as a responsible power, had shown restraint in face of provocative Pakistani rhetoric and actions. India has always stood for normalization of the ties in an atmosphere free of terror.
Pakistan and India claim Kashmir in its entirety, but a border — the LOC — separates the region between the two rivals. Islamabad has ceded control of some of its Kashmir territories to China. Meanwhile, India disputes China’s claim to lands on its side of the LOC.
China and Pakistan have warned that India’s recent moves in Kashmir could trigger a war. Both China and Pakistan have separately engaged in military conflicts with India over Kashmir.
Islamic Pakistan has come out in support of Beijing’s Muslim concentration camps Xinjiang, which borders Kashmir. Xinjiang is China’s largest province and the only Muslim-majority region in the country.