India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin on Friday said New Delhi was committed to the Simla agreement to resolve issues with Pakistan and it was for the neighbouring country to “stop terror to start talks”.
Talking to reporters after closed-door meeting held at the United Nations Security Council on Kashmir developments, he targeted Pakistan and said “using terror to try and push your goal is not the way that normal states behave”.
He said that India’s position of addressing issues with Pakistan on a bilateral tract has very broad acceptance globally.
Akbaruddin spoke to the media after the representatives of China and Pakistan had spoken and took questions unlike his counterparts. He took first three questions from Pakistani journalists and even went to them to shake hands in a gesture reflecting India’s willingness to engage in a dialogue provided there was no push to terror.
Akbaruddin said that matters related to Article 370 of Indian Constitution “were entirely an internal matter of India”.
Asked about India refusing dialogue with Pakistan, Akbaruddin said there are normal diplomatic ways of dealing with countries.
“But using terror to try and push your goal is not the way that normal states behave. No democracy will acknowledge or accept talks when terror thrives. Stop terror, start talks,” he said.
Referring to the UN representatives of China and Pakistan, Akbaruddin said the national statements were sought to be passed off as the will of the international community.
“I do not need to tell you that SC is a very deliberative institution. It works in a very considered manner. Its outcomes are provided to all of us through the president. So if national statements try to masquerade as the will of the international community, I thought I will come across to you and explain our national position,” he said.
Answering a query that Article 370 could be an internal matter of India and there were past UNSC resolutions, he said India and Pakistan had signed the Simla accord in 1972.
“We are committed to that and we hope Pakistan too will try to address these issues in the manner that they have signed on to in a legally binding agreement. We stand ready to address them in that context. We can go back in history but every new agreement overtakes the past. We are committed to that agreement and we hope Pakistan too is because if that is so, its actions do not seem to be working out in what is in that agreement,” he said.
Asked when the dialogue will start, he said “We have already extended our hand of friendship by saying that we are committed to Simla agreement”.
Asked about Pakistan saying that the issue has been internationalised, he said that in close consultations, anyone, especially parties to the dispute, can try and throw in anything for consideration of members of the security council.
“However, you have seen what is the outcome of that meeting. We are ready to address these issues in a manner that states who have normal approaches to international ties should address them. In our case, we are committed to Simla agreement. It is now for Pakistan to make that commitment to stop terror to start talks,” he said.
Asked about Russia saying that it favors a bilateral tract between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and it was also the view of many countries at the UN, Akbaruddin said he will not take on the responsibility of speaking for the council.
“The council has spoken. All of you are aware of what outcomes are. Let me tell you India’s commitment to addressing these issues on bilateral tract has very broad acceptance globally”, he said.
Answering a query about restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, he said prevention is better than cure.
“The measures that we took were preventive in nature, they were designed to stop terrorist from bleeding our people,” he said.
Akbaruddin said there have been no fatalities in the past 10 days.
“That is because every effort was made to work and ensure that our people in Jammu and Kashmir are not adversely affected in terms of their lives. There are always difficulties (due to) restrictions. We acknowledge that. We are an open society but it is a balance of choice that the administrators on the ground should make and not journalists or diplomats. Please allow the space and time to address these issues. They have controlled the situation. You have seen there is not one fatality,” he said.
“In similar situations in large parts of the world, including previously in Jammu and Kashmir there have been large fatalities if such an issue arises. Give us some time. we are addressing it in a democratic manner. We are committed to address difficulties that our people in Jammu and Kashmir are facing,” he said.
Asked about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, he said no inter-governmental organisation in the world has ever said anything about Indian democracy, India’s commitments to human rights.
“We are the country who started issues of apartheid at the UN. India was the country which (worked for) changing the charter of human rights declaration. Our constitution is an open book and if there are any issues these will be addressed by our courts. We do not need international busy bodies to try and tell us how to run our lives,” he said.
Akbaruddin said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam had in the morning announced a whole set of measures that the government is undertaking to move towards normalcy.
“The Security Council at its closed consultations appreciated these efforts, acknowledged them. We are committed to gradually removing all restrictions. You are aware of the time table for that,” he said.
“Our national position was and remains that matters related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution are entirely an internal matter of India. It has no external ramifications,” he said.
“The recent decisions taken by the Government of India and our legislative bodies are intended to ensure that good governance is promoted, socio-economic development is enhanced for our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.
Akbaruddin said the changes internal to India “have not made any difference to our external orientation” and New Delhi remains committed to ensure that the situation remains calm and peaceful.
He said India was committed to all the agreements signed by it on the issue. He also took veiled digs at Pakistan and accused it of fueling cross-border terrorism.
“We note that there were some who tried to project an alarmist approach to the situation which was far from the ground realities. Of particular concern is that one state is using the terminology of jihad against and promoting violence in India including by their leaders,” he said.
“Terrorism is being fueled, language and incendiary talk of jihad is being mentioned by people who should know better,” he added.
Akbaruddin said the violence was no solution to the problems.
“We are committed to and consistent with previous positions that all issues between India and Pakistan as also between Indian and any other country will be resolved bilaterally, peacefully and in a manner which behaves normal inter-state relations between countries. We stand ready to continue our efforts towards a peaceful resolution of all issues in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” he said. (ANI)