Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s visit to Washington has rekindled US and Chinese interest in Kashmir. United States of America and China have set free two albatrosses which are currently hanging as a ‘curse’ around Prime Minister Modi’s neck. President Donald Trump’s revelation that Modi had asked him to ‘mediate’ on Kashmir and that he was more than happy to be a mediator, has a diplomatic merit of its own.
China has not only supplemented the US interest but in a skilful manner has advanced the scope of this interest. Just within five days of President Trump’s offer of mediation Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday 26 July said, “We support the international community, the US included, in playing a constructive role in improving Pakistan-India relations through dialogue.” These two statements are hanging around Modi’s neck as two curses of two Albatrosses.
Prime Minister of Pakistan has succeeded to fine tune the Kashmir narrative. China has announced to support US and the international community. The International Community, in diplomatic terms, is represented through the United Nations. Chinese back up should mean a lot and every effort should be made to roller skate our Kashmir policy with post haste.
The External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar has refuted that Prime Minister Modi ever made the request to Trump. He made a statement in the Parliament on Tuesday 23 July 2019 and said, “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the US President.”
India would not have expected on 23 July 2019 that in another three days China will join in and support US on the question of Kashmir and say “We hope the two countries can peacefully settle the Kashmir issue and other bilateral disputes through dialogue, and make concerted efforts to safeguard peace and stability in South Asia.”
China has distinguished its support by qualifying that it would support the ‘international community’ including the ‘US’. People of Kashmir and all those who support the ‘equality and right of self-determination’ of the people of Kashmir, the three administrations of Jammu and Kashmir as referred in the 8 July 2019 UN Report on Kashmir, Government of Pakistan and the Kashmiri diaspora need to conjoin the US and Chinese interest in their future policy on Kashmir.
China has made a made a serious case for ‘pacification’ on Kashmir at the UN Security Council. China shares a border with Kashmir and came up with articles of settlement. On 18 March 1948 at the 269th meeting of the Council, the President speaking as the representative of China introduced a draft resolution S/699 called Articles of Settlement.
The Articles of Settlement have made a demand that, “The Government of India for its part was to withdraw its troops from Jammu and Kashmir progressively, but if, for the purposes of defence and security, a certain portion was left, those troops should be stationed at such points as not to afford any intimidation, or appearance of intimidation, to the inhabitants of the State. The Government of India was to establish in Jammu and Kashmir a plebiscite administration with the sole and full authority to administer a plebiscite on the question of accession of the State. The top officers of the plebiscite administration were to be neutral international personalities nominated by the Secretary General of UN, but would consider themselves, for the time being as officers of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
US has also retained a convincing interest in Kashmir. On 27 August 1951 Office of South Asian Affairs and Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs of United States prepared a document on Kashmir titled, “Kashmir Dispute: Future Action” . The document stated, “At some time in the course of our efforts, we might consider asking the Security Council to request the International Court of Justice to render an advisory opinion regarding the legality of the act of the Maharaja of Kashmir in signing an instrument of accession to India. If the ICJ finds the accession was invalid, this would knock out one of the principal Indian arguments supporting their occupation of Kashmir.” US had taken United Kingdom Foreign Office on board but put the desire of going to ICJ on hold, fearing it might take considerable time.
Now United States of America and China have reiterated their interest on 24 July and 26 July 2019 respectively. The interesting thing is that China has made a reference to ‘international community’ as well. In fact United Nations has already allocated a work schedule to various people as well. United Kingdom in its Statement at the 606th meeting of the UN Security Council has identified these people and their work as, “Efforts of the people of Kashmir on both sides of the cease fire line and indeed, of the peoples of India and Pakistan also, would be concentrated on the task of organizing the methods and procedures to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to express freely their wishes”
The writer is the President of JKCHR — NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations