The meeting was slated for Tuesday and would have been the second closed-door meeting of the UNSC on Kashmir since consultations were first held on August 16. The situation has flared up since India revoked the region’s decades-old special autonomy on August 5. New Delhi argued that the move would help to combat terrorism and boost the region’s economy as a result of better integration with the rest of the country. However, the move drew ire from Pakistan, which immediately called for the international community to intervene in the crisis.
The meeting was reportedly requested by China but was called off after it reportedly did not sit well with France and other UNSC members.
“Our (France’s) position has been very clear – the Kashmir issue has to be treated bilaterally. We have highlighted this several times recently, including in New York,” a French official told the media on Tuesday, as cited by the Hindustan Times.
Faced with opposition within the 15-member body, China apparently backpedaled. Beijing has been up in arms over the recent reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh into two union territories, blasting it as “unlawful and void.” China disputes India’s sovereignty over parts of Ladakh, an area between Tibet and Pakistan. Until October this year, Ladakh remained a region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has been adamant about the need for the international community to get involved in the Kashmir issue, arguing that India’s revocation of autonomy and a new citizenship law will trigger a mass exodus of Muslims to Pakistan, provoking a severe refugee crisis that could result in war between two nuclear-armed states.
A law that fast-tracks citizenship for migrants belonging to religious minorities who fled Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan has sparked mass unrest in India, with critics interpreting it as discriminatory. Indian PM Narendra Modi has rejected the accusations, stressing that the legislation reflects “a culture of compassion.” He has denounced violent riots, which he claims were incited by the opposition spreading “lies” about the bill’s nature.
India also maintains that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and has refused repeated offers from the US to mediate in the dispute.