The Big Picture – India’s message to Pakistan at the UN
Delivering his address at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposed a four-point agenda to diffuse tensions between Pakistan and India with regard to the Kashmir issue as well as the frequent reported incidents of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Working Boundary (IWB) that separates the two nations in Jammu and Kashmir. He suggested that Pakistan and India formalise and respect the November 26, 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir. For this purpose, he called for the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)’s expansion to monitor the observance of the ceasefire. He also said both countries need to reaffirm their resolve not resort to the use of force under any circumstances. Sharif also proposed that steps should be taken to demilitarise Kashmir, and Pakistan and India should agree to an unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground.
Experts say that easing of threat perceptions through such peace efforts will make it possible for India and Pakistan to agree on a broad range of measures to address the peril posed by offensive and advanced weapons systems. The two countries should address and resolve the causes of tension and take all possible measures to avert further escalation. Since 1947 the Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved, UN Security Council resolutions have remained unimplemented. This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations.
However, the Indian government remains adamant on its stance on Kashmir. After the new government has taken over, relations have become more estranged with Pakistan because India has adopted a more aggressive approach against infiltrators while the traditional blame game has been going on unabated. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also accused Pakistan of waging a proxy terror war against India.
Despite all its attempts over the years, Pakistan has been unsuccessful in getting the United Nations or the P-5 Security Council members to consider any reference on Kashmir. All of its references and pleas to UN committees to take up the dispute have been disregarded, and every P-5 nation has counselled both countries to resolve the issue bilaterally.
As an active aspirant to a permanent seat in the Security Council, India’s stature would be enhanced internationally if it sets in motion a bilateral process to resolve issues with its neighbour, with a view to ending the decades-old dispute. That needs sustained discussions on the basis of common interests.