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Nudged Again By China, UN Security Council Likely to Hold Closed-door Meeting on Kashmir

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

French diplomatic sources said the country's position remains unchanged and clear: that the Kashmir issue must be settled bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

New Delhi: A closed-door consultation on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is likely to take place at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Wednesday evening, said sources.

China's request is likely to be rejected as other member countries of the global organisation are set to oppose it.

The current move by China is the third such attempt since August when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.

France said it has opposed a fresh request by a member country for the discussion. French diplomatic sources said Paris has noted the request of a UNSC member, reported to be China, to raise the issue of Kashmir once again in this body.

“France’s position has not changed and is very clear: the Kashmir issue must be settled bilaterally – as we have stated on several occasions and will continue to reiterate it to our partners on the United Nations Security Council,” added the sources.

The closed-door UNSC meeting has been called to discuss an issue relating to an African country, Mali. China has made a request to deliberate on the Kashmir issue under the agenda of "Any Other Business Points".

In August, China pushed for a UNSC meeting on Kashmir after the government scrapped J&K's special status. However, the meeting did not yield the desired results as the member-states maintained that India's move was an internal issue

Last month, France, the United States, United Kingdom and Russia had foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has earlier said that Beijing is watching the Kashmir situation and will support its ally Pakistan in issues related to its core interests.

India and Pakistan have been locked in a war of words since the Narendra Modi-led government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh.

In protest, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria and also suspended trade ties. It also sought to internationalise the issue by raising it at the UN but did not get much support.

Beijing, the all-weather ally of Islamabad, has backed Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his earlier address to the UN General Assembly saying, "No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken."

China has been critical of India's reorganisation of J&K and has particularly criticised Delhi for making Ladakh a Union Territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh.

India's decisions on Kashmir had also cast a shadow over Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India in October for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, despite the acrimony over the issue, Modi and Xi held "successful" talks in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram, signalling a recalibration of bilateral ties.

(With inputs from PTI)