New York: UN chief Antonio Guterres reportedly said that he was engaged in bringing about a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through his meetings with the Prime Ministers of the two countries.
This comes despite Pakistan continuing to openly support terrorism in Kashmir and pushing through terrorists across the LoC. “Why do you think I met three times the Prime Minister of Pakistan and two times the Prime Minister of India,”
Mr Guterres said with a laugh during a press briefing in New York when asked about whether he was engaged in bringing about dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue. “For someone accused of doing nothing, it is quite a number of meetings,” the UN Secretary General was quoted as saying in referring to criticism that he has been shying away and is reluctant to act to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan has been trying its level best to internationalise the Kashmir issue, while India has been maintaining that talks and terror do not go together. Pakistan has continuously raised the Kashmir issue at the UN seeking the world body’s attention and intervention in the issue with India. But New Delhi has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue with Islamabad as per the Shimla and Lahore agreements.
Mr Guterres, addressing reporters at his first press conference at the world body’s headquarters since assuming office in January, was asked about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and the ceasefire violations since he assumed office. Mr Guterres did not elaborate further, but through his response he did not make any indication that he will act as a mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
According to news agency reports, Mr Modi and Mr Guterres had met in St. Petersburg earlier in June on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. During the meeting, Mr Modi had stressed on multilateralism to address global challenges such as terrorism.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the UN chief had met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos in January and again this month in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked at press briefings about the Secretary General’s response to the situation in Kashmir, had repeatedly said earlier that Guterres is following the situation in the region closely.
The UN chief has not made any direct intervention to resolve the issue, reiterating his call for India and Pakistan to find a peaceful solution through engagement and dialogue.