Kashmir issue: India slams Pakistan

India has strongly hit back at Pakistan for raking up the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council, arguing that a country that hosted slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and attacked a neighboring Parliament does not have the credentials to ''sermonize'' before the powerful UN organ. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's strong remarks came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto raised the Kashmir issue while speaking in the Council open debate on reformed multilateralism on Dec. 14. Jaishankar said the credibility of the UN depends on its effective response to the key challenges of our times, be it pandemics, climate change, conflicts or terrorism. “We are obviously focused today on the urgency of reforming multilateralism. We will naturally have our particular views, but there is a growing convergence at least that this cannot be delayed any further,” said Jaishankar, who is chairing India’s signature event on reformed multilateralism. “While we search for the best solutions, what our discourse must never accept is the normalization of such threats. The question of justifying what the world regards as unacceptable should not even arise. That certainly applies to state sponsorship of cross-border terrorism. Nor can hosting Osama bin Laden and attacking a neighboring Parliament serve as credentials to sermonize before this Council,” he said. Jaishankar arrived on Dec. 13 to preside over two signature events on counter-terrorism and reformed multilateralism being held under India’s current Presidency of the UN Security Council, before the curtains come down this month on the country’s two-year tenure as an elected member of the powerful 15-nation. He presided over the UN Security Council Open Debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism’, a signature event held under India’s Presidency of the 15-nation Council. Among the over 60 speakers listed for the debate was Bhutto, who in his remarks to the Council, raised the Kashmir issue. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj was chairing the debate when Bhutto spoke in the Council. Later, as Jaishankar presided over the debate, he gave a strong response to Bhutto’s comments. He referred to the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks in the US bin Laden, who was living in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city and was killed in a raid at his hideout in May 2011 by US Navy seals. Terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had attacked the Indian Parliament complex in 2001, killing nine people. Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy. India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda. India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbor relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

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