Indian government has just held a G-20 Tourism Group meeting in Kashmir as an attempt to project Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) as their sovereign territory where everything is normal. The meeting started on 22 May and ended on 24 May 2023. India this year holds the presidency of G-20 Group and therefore utilizing this opportunity it arranged this meeting. The revocation of Article 370 was the first attempt to change the bilateral nature of Kashmir dispute by India and now holding a meeting there is another attempt to project the world that Kashmir belongs to India. Pakistan has used its diplomatic channels and called on the G-20 members and allies to boycott the meeting as holding a meeting in a disputed territory is not only the violation of international law but also against the spirit of UN Security Council resolutions.
The robust diplomacy has worked for Pakistan and states like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mexico and Indonesia refused to attend the meeting. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also went to Azad Jammu and Kashmir on a three-day visit and pledged Pakistan’s support with the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. During his address to the Legislative Assembly, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering backing for the Kashmir cause. Furthermore, he denounced the G-20 meeting held in Srinagar and emphasized that India’s endeavors to portray normalcy in IIOJK neither legitimize its unlawful occupation nor diminish the resolve of the Kashmiri people. The remaining G-20 member nations prioritized their self-interests over the promotion of human rights. Surprisingly, none of these countries, including the delegates from the European Union, demonstrated sufficient concern to raise the plight of the Kashmiri people during the meeting. While it should be noted that the German Foreign Minister, Ms Abaerbock, expressed Germany’s role and responsibility regarding the situation in Kashmir in 2022, affirming support for the United Nations’ efforts towards a peaceful resolution in the region, attending the G-20 meeting a year later seemingly disregards the disputed nature of Kashmir.
India is not obliged to determine the fate of Kashmiris unilaterally as it’s a bilateral territorial dispute between two South Asian rivals. The world has witnessed the aftermath of the revocation in Kashmir, where the region endured prolonged periods of curfew and lockdown. Numerous troops were deployed, internet and telecommunications were suspended and political leaders faced arrest and mistreatment. The incidents of detention, torture, killing, mass rape, political persecution, arbitrary arrest and the stifling of free media persisted unabated. Yet, remarkably, no one has vocally denounced India’s actions, driven solely by their own self-interests.
The BJP government led by Narendra Modi has opted to unilaterally alter the status quo of Kashmir through coercive means and assertiveness. As the Director of South Asia Institute at Wilson Centre in the US, Michael Lugelman, suggests the real goal of New Delhi to hold this meeting is to present a false image of “all is well” and “all is normal” which the world will obviously buy because much of the international community already appears to believe that Kashmir is no longer a conflict or a dispute. Many if not the most governments have set aside the human rights violations in Kashmir just to preserve their friendly relations with India being a key trade and investment partner and a huge market for them. Hence, not only the Western world but the Muslim states have stayed quiet on the Kashmir dispute.
(The writer is a researcher at Centre for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad……. Courtesy: Pakistan Observer)
You must be logged in to post a comment.