- Call for mediation on Kashmir rejected
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres made an offer of mediation between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, but India rejected that offer. He also called on both sides to de-escalate both militarily and verbally. Secretary General Guterres broke no new ground in his offer, his visit to the region drew attention to the threat posed to world peace by any confrontation between these two nuclear-armed neighbours, and showed that the real problem was the failure to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
The two countries came close to war early last year, after the Pulwama incident. After that gave the BJP, and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi an election victory, the repeal of Kashmir’s special status (and the permission to non-Kashmiris to buy property there) kept the world worried. It also gave Mr Guterres more to do, because apart from the longstanding Indo-Pakistan dispute, which remained on the UN Security Council agenda since 1948, the humanitarian situation in Kashmir also became a matter of pressing concern after the August 5 lockdown. That would be behind the UNSC meetings on Kashmir. Both Indian actions, taken together, have the world worried. That is behind Mr Guterres’ visit, as well as the interest he is showing in the issue, which is more than that of his recent predecessors.
So far, the Indian actions have not caused any changes of heart in the countries of the world. However, events like Mr Guterres’ visit are an indication that there is some movement towards recognising that the toxic Hindutva ideology of the BJP and its cohort, which is being implemented so religiously by Mr Modi, endangers not just the human rights of millions, as it is doing in Kashmir, and as it is doing with the Citizenship Amendment Act all over India but initially in the North-East, but the peace of the world and the survival of the planet. That is a more immediate problem than climate change, which Mr Guterres also addressed, and which affects Pakistan more deeply than other countries. But the way India is going, there might not be a Pakistan left, whose climate would cause concern.