China at helm, India faces tough month at UNSC

New Delhi, March 2, 2020: India is bracing for a tough month ahead, as China is going to assume presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of March. Beijing’s Permanent Representative Zhang Jun will assume the presidency on Monday.

This is the first time China will be holding the presidency of the UNSC since the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was revoked in August last year. The UNSC follows a system of rotational presidency among its 15 members — five permanent and 10 non-permanent members.

Since then, the issue of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have occupied centerstage and has grabbed headlines in the global media. The riots in Delhi over the past one week has further caught global attention.

Sources said that New Delhi has “intensified” its engagement with the UNSC members in the past few days, with diplomats at the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York meeting their counterparts to gauge the intention of the UNSC members.

Since August last year, Beijing has raised the issue of Kashmir twice — in August and in January, while it had withdrawn its attempt once — in December. This time, South Block is going to be on its toes, sources said, so that they can counter any Chinese diplomatic gambit.

In January this year, China’s attempt to raise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir – at Pakistan’s behest – had failed to yield an outcome as an “overwhelming majority” had said that it was not the right forum. New Delhi had asked Beijing to “seriously reflect” on the global consensus and “refrain” from taking such action in the future.

Besides France and the US, sources had said that UK, Russia and Germany also joined in along with other members to block Beijing’s attempt to get an outcome.

Sources said that while the UK’s ambivalent position in the UNSC closed-door consultations in August had surprised many — a claim strongly denied by the UK — London’s decision to block Beijing’s attempt sent an important signal to Delhi.

For the third time since August, Beijing had raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC in mid-January. Vietnam, which was the UNSC president for January, had allowed the issue to be brought up by China.

“Today @UN .our flag is flying high. Those that launched a “False Flag” effort got a stinging response from our many friends.,” Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, had tweeted then.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had made a sharp comment at Beijing. “China should seriously reflect on this global consensus, draw proper lessons and refrain from taking such action in future,” Kumar said, replying to a question on why India has not reacted strongly to Beijing raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. “I suggest that this question should be posed to the Chinese side as well,” he said.

He also slammed Pakistan for trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue with the help of China, saying Islamabad’s “desperate” measures to “peddle” baseless allegations and presenting an alarming scenario about the Valley lacked credibility.

“Pakistan can avoid this global embarrassment time and again by putting their energy in something constructive,” the MEA spokesperson had said.

This was the third time, China, Pakistan’s ‘all-weather ally’, had demanded discussion on the Kashmir issue.

In August, China had raised it in an informal and closed-door consultations, but the meeting did not lead to any outcome. In December, France, US, UK and Russia — the remaining P-5 members — had foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC. Beijing, which had earlier requested for a meeting, withdrew its request.

~ Indian Express

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