International Response on Kashmir Issue after the Revocation of Article 370 and 35A

Introduction:

On 5 August 2019, the government of India revoked the special constitutional status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, and abrogated Article 35A which had allowed it to define who its ‘permanent residents’ are and what rights and privileges are attached to such residency. After the revocation of article 370 and 35A, all the powers have responded respectively as following.

US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus; India and Pakistan to maintain peace and restraint, noting that the US was monitoring the issue closely; however, there would be no change in US policy on Kashmir. Then President Donald Trump, too, noted his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan. The response was stronger amongst prominent members of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren strongly condemned the communications blockade and suppression of human rights in the Valley.

Joe Biden; said in his “Agenda for Muslim American Communities”, that “the Indian government should take all necessary steps to restore rights for all the people of Kashmir” and criticized the restrictions imposed in the Valley as the “weakening” of democracy

Resolution in US Congress seeks end to repression:

A bipartisan resolution moved in the US Congress urged India to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in occupied Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents. Resolution 745 was jointly moved by Congre­ss woman Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, and Congressman Steve Watkins, a Republican. Born in Madras (Chennai), Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to serve in the US House of Representatives.

US senators call for assessment of rights situation in occupied Kashmir:

Four key US senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting an assessment of human rights situation in India-occupied Kashmir and of the rights of religious minorities in India, it emerged. The letter was released to the media days before Donald Trump’s Feb 23-26 visit to India, his first as the US president. “India has now imposed the longest-ever internet shut down by a democracy, disrupting access to medical care, business, and education for seven million people. Hundreds of Kashmiris remain in ‘preventive detention’, including key political figures,” wrote the senators.

US lawmakers urge India to end occupation of Kashmir:

Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called India’s US ambassador and told him that he was “continuing to monitor the situation regarding the government of India’s decision to revoke the special status” of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Smith, a Democrat from Washington State, said some of his constituents were from occupied Jammu and Kashmir and had also visited the area after Aug 5. “They saw a region under siege with its residents isolated, without an ability to communicate at all outside of the region,”

US Senator Bernie Sanders While addressing the 56th Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA):

Democratic US Senator’s response on Kashmir “I am also deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy. The crackdown in the name of security is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care. Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indian government-imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the life-saving care that patients need.”

United States congresswoman Ilhan Omar; in her tweet, she added that comes a day after a G7 summit, meeting between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took place in France, “We should be calling for an immediate restoration of communication; respect for human rights, democratic norms, and religious freedom; and de-escalation in [occupied] Kashmir.” International organizations should be allowed to fully document what is happening on the ground.

Mr Levin, a Michigan Democrat; also notes that Mr “Modi’s moves with respect to Kashmir, while alarming, do not come out of left field. In an opinion piece he shared on Twitter, the US lawmaker points out that in 2005 the Bush administration denied Mr Modi entry into the United States for not preventing the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.”

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); notes that Mr Modi is trying to “project himself as the regional strongman” and he also wants to “galvanise Hindu nationalist support around that strongman image”.

Trump during New Delhi visit reiterates offer to mediate on Kashmir:

US President Donald Trump, while addressing a press conference in the Indian capital on the last day of his two-day visit, reiterated his earlier offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. “They [Pakistan] are working on Kashmir. Kashmir has been a thorn in lots of people’s sides for a long time. There are two sides to every story. “Kashmir obviously is a big problem between India and Pakistan, they are going to work out their problem. They have been doing it for a long time”. Trump, however, made no statement regarding the lockdown in India-occupied Kashmir during his visit.

The UK’s Response; was broadly akin to that of the US’s. In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated that the UK viewed Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and called for a resolution through dialogue.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab; urged for “a reduction in tensions” and “respect for internationally recognized human rights.” As the amendment of Article 370 became a recurring issue in the British electoral platforms of 2019.

In September 2019, the Labour Party; passed a resolution favoring international intervention and UN-led referendum in Kashmir, but by May 2020, the Party had changed its stance, with Labour leader Keir Starmer calling Kashmir a “bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.

Other Global Powers were equally hesitant in taking a strong Stance against India’s actions.

French President Emmanuel Macron; stated that France would monitor the human rights situation on the ground but insisted that the matter be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan while avoiding an escalation of hostilities.

The German ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner; called Kashmir a “bilateral issue” and India’s “internal matter,” while stressing the need to ensure that human rights were upheld in the region.

Chancellor Angela Merkel; called the situation in Kashmir unsustainable, and one that needed to change; according to a German diplomat, her statement sparked quite a frenzy in India.

In Canada, opposition leader Jagmeet Singh; condemned the communication blockade as a human rights violation, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refrained from making any public statement.

Human Rights Activists from Canada:

A four-member delegation of human rights activists from Canada after meeting Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the wife of imprisoned Kashmiri leader Mohammad Yasin Malik, vowed to raise their voice against excesses being committed by India in occupied Kashmir.

The Australian High Commissioner to New Delhi; at the time commented that Australia respects India’s position on Kashmir being an internal matter and called for a bilateral resolution.

Russia, which urged restraint between India and Pakistan, while acknowledging the issue as bilateral and India’s actions as within the constitutional framework.

European Union (EU) Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini; called for dialogue between India and Pakistan, and stressed the importance of removing restrictions on, and restoring the freedoms of, the Kashmiri people.

EU diplomats reject Indian invitation of ‘guided tour’ to occupied Kashmir:

Ambassadors from European countries rejected India’s invitation for a two-day visit to occupied Kashmir, seeking instead the “freedom to meet the people unescorted”, several Indian media outlets reported. Quoting diplomatic sources, The Hindu reported that diplomats from EU had decided not to accept the invitation and asked for “more freedom to travel and meet people unescorted”. Consequently, the Indian government decided to organise a separate visit for the European envoys at a later date, the report added.

In August 2020, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin: referred to India’s move as “illegal and invalid” but called for the issue to be “properly and peacefully resolved through dialogue and consultation between the parties concerned.”42 However, while seemingly supporting a bilateral resolution of the issue between India and Pakistan, China repeatedly helped Pakistan bring the issue to the UN’s attention.

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun:

Spoke to journalists outside the chamber of UNSC, confirming that the council had reviewed the situation in the occupied valley. “China recognises Kashmir as a territory disputed between India and Pakistan and openly supports Islamabad’s demand for a plebiscite to enable the Kashmiri people to decide their own future”./p

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad; at the forum said, despite UN resolutions, the territory had been invaded and occupied. In his address Turkish President

Recep Tayyip Erdogan; criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the Kashmir conflict, which, he said, awaits solution for 72 years.

Turkish Foreign Ministry; said that the amendment of Article 370 could “further increase the existing tension” in Kashmir, and a year later, it maintained that India’s actions had “further complicated the situation” and had “not contributed to the peace and stability” in Kashmir.

Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei; also called on India to reverse its actions and to adopt a “just policy” to “prevent the oppression & bullying of Muslims” in J&K.

The most significant response was that from the leaders of the countries in the Middle East

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); held a virtual meeting and issued a communique supporting the cause of the Kashmiris and asking India to withdraw its unilateral actions in the region.47 It also called on India to refrain from making demographic changes in the region and urged the use of a UN-sponsored plebiscite to determine the will of the people.48 However, the OIC’s response was restricted to verbal criticism and did not involve any substantive measures against India.

Yousef M. Al Dobeay, OIC Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir; supports peacefully negotiated settlement of the longstanding issue of Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. “The issue of Kashmir is the oldest issue in the Security Council and is on top of our agenda points for the past four decades,”

Saudi Arabia; skimmed over the issue by urging both parties to maintain peace and stability in the region.49 In October 2019, during PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the two nations issued a joint statement rejecting the idea of foreign interference in national domestic concerns.

UAE’s ambassador to India, Ahmed Al Banna; noted the decision on Kashmir as India’s internal matter and one that would “improve social justice” and “further stability and peace.”51 Shortly after the amendment of Article 370, the UAE awarded PM Modi its highest civilian honour, the Order of Zayed indicating that the developments in Kashmir had not affected its regard for the prime minister or his government.

The Syrian Envoy; to India, Riad Abbas, said that India’s actions in Kashmir conformed to its rights to protect its people, and that the issue had to be resolved bilaterally.

Other Gulf nations such as Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman; refrained from issuing direct statements, although Bahrain took legal action against Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals protesting the constitutional changes.

Amongst India’s neighbors, Afghanistan; denied any ties with the Kashmir issue, rejecting Pakistan’s assertions. Thus, despite the Islamic ties with Kashmir. The Middle East remained largely silent about, and at times accepting of the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir.

Amnesty International launches ‘urgent campaign’ to end blackout:

Amnesty International India launched a global campaign in a bid to highlight the human cost of the month-long lockdown in occupied Kashmir. Indefinite communication blackout, Amnesty International India has launched the campaign #LetKashmirSpeak on 5 September, 2019, which marks a month of the communications blackout, to ask for immediate lifting of the lockdown, “stated Amnesty International India”.

UNSC Kashmir moot gives lie to Indian claim:

For the first time since 1965, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir, nullifying India’s claim that this was an internal matter.

Far-right European MPs visit occupied Kashmir as UN body demands full restoration of human rights:

Nearly 30 Euro MPs, drawn mainly from extreme right-wing parties, were the first international delegation to visit occupied Kashmir since authorities imposed a security clampdown in August to back the ending of the region’s autonomy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), meanwhile, expressed “extreme concern” over human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and asked the Indian authorities to “fully restore” human rights in the occupied territory.

In a similar report, another advocacy group, Amnesty International; called on the Indian government to “immediately release all political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and put an end to the deliberate silencing of voices in the region”.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the OIC: is appalled by the continuation of stifling inhuman security blockade/curfew and communication blackout imposed by Indian security forces since August 5 with no letting up in sight despite widespread international condemnation “It said that the continuation of mass human rights violations by the Indian security forces with impunity under an exclusionary ideology of Hindutva reflects an obvious state bias, which led to the issuance of genocide alerts by international human rights organisations.”

Pakistan’s Response after Revocation Article 370 & 35 (A):

When PM arrived in the United States for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York was intense criticism of India for its annexation of occupied Kashmir and the continued restrictions imposed in the region. Further he added that “(Nearly) 100,000 Kashmiris have died in the past 30 years because they were denied their right of self-determination. Eleven thousand women were raped. The world hasn’t done anything,” The prime minister highlighted the UNHCHR’s statement regarding the impact of the Indian government’s recent actions in occupied Kashmir. “I especially welcome the statement by the UNHCHR in Geneva today. I call upon the UN Human Rights Council to immediately set up an independent investigation commission to probe human rights abuses in IOJK as recommended by the UNHCHR’s two reports on Kashmir. The time to act is now.” On the other hand in his message on global Human Rights Day, Appealed to the international community to act against the “illegal annexation” of occupied Kashmir by the Indian government. “On Human Rights Day, we must appeal to the world’s conscience, to upholders of international law [and] to the UNSC to act against the illegal annexation of IOJK by the Indian occupation government,” he said in a tweet.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Response:

“The OIC and UNSC have both responded positively to Pakistan’s call for the Kashmir issue to be taken up. The OIC has called for an immediate end to the curfew in occupied Kashmir,”

For the first time in 50 years the UNSC held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Although the council did not agree on a statement.

The foreign minister said that it had been decided in a meeting of the Special Committee on Kashmir and Kashmir Cell will be created at Pakistan’s Foreign Office Furthermore, Kashmir desks will also be established at Pakistani embassies all over the world, “In order to carry out effective communication on the matter.” Qureshi added “Pakistan does not recognize Article 370 of the Indian constitution. It is not our concern. Our concern is with the forceful change in Kashmir’s demographics and the violation of the rights of the people of Kashmir.

Response of International Media Organizations after 5th August 2019

Cable News Network (CNN):

CNN then asked the world body how much longer the people in South Asia should wait for the UNSC to play the role of a peacemaker in Kashmir. “Will 50 more years pass before the Council takes up again the hot topic of Kashmir?” asked CNN while pointing out that it took UNSC more than 50 years even to hold a consultative meeting on the disputed land.  CNN reported that two of the five permanent UNSC members and a major Western power prevented the council from issuing a statement condemning the unilateral Indian action in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. “France, Germany and the United States objected to language that might have broadened the issue beyond the possibility of future bilateral talks between India and Pakistan,” said the report, quoting UN diplomats. “The priority must go to bilateral dialogue,”

Al Jazeera television network; noted that members of the Security Council were guided by their longstanding relationships rather than the need to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “The United States is a traditional backer of India and China of Pakistan,” added the report while explain why the council failed to issue a statement at the end of the meeting.

A Washington Post editorial; reminded Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he was “playing a dangerous game”.

Amnesty International’s; Secretary-General Kumi Naidoo reminded the Security Council members that they needed to safeguard the human rights of the people of Kashmir.

Idris Bhat, a New Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist; wrote on the Foreign Policy magazine’s news site Mr Bhat noted that “doing so has been a longstanding demand of the militant Hindu nationalist Organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is widely seen as the parent Organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

The UNSC consultative meeting; held on Pakistan’s request, condemned human rights violations in Kashmir, but failed to issue a joint statement. It also failed to schedule an emergency meeting to review the situation in Kashmir.

The Bloomberg news agency; noted One Western diplomat told Bloomberg that even though no decision was reached, “holding the meeting helped calm tensions because it showed Pakistan that the international community is engaged on the issue”.

A UN news service report; referred to UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Aug 8 statement, saying that “the position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter…and applicable Security Council resolutions”. The Secretary-General also referred to the 1972 Simla agreement which states that “the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means”, in accordance with the UN Charter.

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1 Comment

  • Syed wafa
    August 23, 2021

    Great piece of writing. World must know that how Kashmiris are suffering and India should be forced to stop the inhuman activities. Kashmir would soon be part of Pakistan.

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