Clarifying the stand taken by Russia on the Kashmir issue in the United Nations, Russian envoy to India, Roman Babushkin, on Wednesday said there should be no international interference as the repeal of special status was a domestic affair of India.
Babushkin statement assumes significance as Russia’s support for India during the closed consultations in UN Security Council earlier this month was seen to have come with a twist – as it had made references to the UN resolutions that New Delhi regards as defunct.
The Deputy Chief of Mission said the country’s official position remains that Kashmir is an internal issue for India, and it should sort out all differences with Pakistan through bilateral dialogue based on the Simla agreement and the Lahore declaration.
He refuted that Russia had taken a “dubious” stand at UNSC, and explained that what was said was that members should adhere to the UN charter, which says there should be no interference in domestic matters. “There was no mention of any specific UN resolutions,” he said.
The UNSC had discussed India’s move to revoke the special constitutional status of Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories behind closed doors on August 16. This was the first time that the members of UNSC conferred on “India-Pakistan question” since December 1971.
The Council’s president, Joanna Wronecka of Poland, however, did not get the green light from all members to issue a public statement, much to India’s respite, as sources, said US, France and UK had along with Russia backed India’s actions.
But what had surprised New Delhi were tweets by Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in which he referred to the “relevant UN resolutions” while participating in the meeting.
“#Russia continues to consistently promote normalisation of #India - #Pakistan ties. We hope that existing divergences around #Kasmir (Kashmir) will be settled bilaterally by political and diplomatic means only on the basis of Simla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore declaration of 1999, in accordance with UN Charter, relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan,” Polyanskiy had posted on Twitter.
The tweet had gone against India’s long-standing position that Simla Agreement of 1972 signed by Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, had left no scope for the UN or any third party to get involved in the process to resolve the “outstanding issues” between the two nations.
The principle of the Simla Agreement had again been reaffirmed by Lahore Declaration of 1999 issued by then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif.