UN Security Council to meet on Kashmir at China’s request

The council will meet for the first time since a similar gathering in August after India scrapped the Article 370.

India Revokes Kashmir''s Special Status
The Muslim-majority region has been under lockdown and denied internet access since August 5 [Getty Images]

The United Nations Security Council will meet at China‘s request on Tuesday to discuss the situation in  Indian-administered Kashmir, diplomats said.

The council will meet behind closed doors for the first time since a similar gathering in August, which was also called by Pakistan’s ally, China after India removed the decades-old autonomy the area had under the constitution.

The Muslim-majority region has been under lockdown and denied internet access since August 5, when India’s Hindu nationalist government scrapped Article 370 which granted Kashmir limited autonomy.

In a letter to the Security Council on December 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed concern about a possible further escalation of tensions.

“In view of the seriousness of the situation and the risk of further escalation, China would like to echo the request of Pakistan, and request a briefing of the Council … on the situation of Jammu and Kashmir,” China’s UN mission wrote in a note to council members, seen by Reuters.

Diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the meeting was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

“We don’t know what exactly is this (meeting). We have to wait until the meet,” said former Indian diplomat and strategic affairs expert, KC Singh.

“The last meeting was not on the UNSC agenda and this may be the same,” he told Al Jazeera.

The Himalayan region has long been a flashpoint in ties between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan, with both claiming Kashmir in full but ruling it in part.

UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the disputed territory.

For decades, India has battled an armed rebellion in the portion it controls. It blames Pakistan for increasing the strife, but Pakistan denies this, saying it gives only moral support to non-violent separatists.

The Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly Muslim Kashmir.

Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”

Bilal Kuchay contributed to this report

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies