Russia backs India on J&K; says within framework of Constitution

Shubhajit Roy
India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

In what is being seen as a ringing endorsement of New Delhi s move to bury the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, Russia Saturday became the first United Nations Security Council (UNSC) permanent member to underscore that the move was carried out within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India .

It also underlined the bilateral nature of the issue, as it spelt out the Simla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore Declaration of 1999 a position maintained by New Delhi. Islamabad has been trying to internationalise the issue, and has decided to approach the United Nations, including the Security Council.

While the US and UK have made statements on the Centre s move to scrap Kashmir s special status and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories, none have backed Delhi s position like Moscow just has. Incidentally, China has been critical of India s move, which New Delhi has rejected.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Saturday that China fully supports Pakistan in approaching the UNSC. On returning from China where he met his counterpart Wang Yi, Qureshi according to PTI, said: I shared with China that we intend on taking this matter to the United Nations Security Council. I want to tell the nation that they have assured us of their complete support.

We are considering other options as well. we hope there s no bloodshed, but we see things moving towards further escalation in tension, he said. The MEA Friday had said it was time for Pakistan to see the new reality and stop interfering in the internal matters of India.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday, Moscow expects that India and Pakistan will not allow aggravation of the situation in the region due to the change by Delhi in the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

We proceed from the fact that the changes associated with the change in the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its pision into two Union Territories are carried out within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India…We hope that the parties involved will not allow a new aggravation of the situation in the region as a result of the decisions.

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Emphasising that Russia is a consistent supporter of the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, We hope that the differences between them will be resolved by political and diplomatic means on a bilateral basis in accordance with the provisions of the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration of 1999.

Sources said that Russia has always, in the past, wanted the issue to be discussed bilaterally, and has not been in favour of the matter being raised at the UNSC, where it has vetoed similar moves in the past.

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Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev has been briefed at least twice by the Ministry of External Affairs, and Indian ambassador to Russia D B Venkatesh Verma has also briefed the Russian government in Moscow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to travel to Vlapostok in Russia for a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin from September 4 to 6. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is likely to travel to Russia this month.