India has said Pakistan approaching the UN over the issue of surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance in the world body and rejected claims that the UN mission monitoring ceasefire “has not directly observed” any firing along the LoC.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin dismissed remarks made by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “has not directly observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incidents”, a reference to the surgical strikes conducted by India on September 29 targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Akbaruddin told reporters at the Indian Permanent Mission here yesterday that the facts on the ground do not change whether somebody has “observed” it or not.
“I have nothing to say because what (Dujarric) said was ‘directly observed’. It’s a call that they have to take. I cannot place myself in their boots and directly observe something,” the Indian envoy said when asked to comment on Dujarric’s remarks.
Akbaruddin said the “facts on the ground do not change whether somebody acknowledges or not. Facts are facts, we presented the facts and that’s where we stand.”
India on Thursday carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.
When pressed at the daily press briefing to explain how UNMOGIP can say it did not observe any firing even as India said it has conducted the surgical strikes, Dujarric repeated that UNMOGIP has not “directly observed” any of the firing.
“They are obviously aware of the reports of these presumed violations and are talking to the relevant concerned authorities,” he had said.
Akbaruddin said while Pakistan has reached out to the UN Chief and the 15-nation Council over the issues of the surgical strike and Kashmir, it’s call for intervention by the world body has not found any resonance as there was no further discussion on the matter.
“Yesterday there was some action. You are also aware of the reaction,” Akbaruddin said referring to Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi meeting New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and raising in the UNSC the issue of the action by India.
“Yesterday the Pakistan ambassador did approach New Zealand. What they didn’t tell you after that was what happened. Did anyone raise anything after what was explained to in the UN Security Council. The answer that I know of is that there was no further discussion of this (surgical strike and Kashmir matter),” Akbaruddin said.
He said Pakistan had raised the issues through the New Zealand ambassador in “informal consultations” of the Council.
“Was there a resonance. I didn’t hear that, nor did anybody else in those informal consultations. We are a responsible state. It is not our intention to aggravate the situation.
“However as a responsible state we will not tolerate any impunity. We will not be indifferent to territory being used to kill innocent citizens of our country,” Akbaruddin said adding that India hopes and expects “support from Pakistan also in that endeavor”.
“Ultimately they are committed to a bilateral understanding on this.”
The Indian envoy also added that Pakistan had raised the Kashmir issue in the General Assembly but asked how many nations “supported” it.
“By my count there were none,” he said adding that there is “no resonance” among UN member states for Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir.
“At the high-level General Debate, there was a specific and long Pakistani submission (on Kashmir). I did not hear any resonance of that among any of the member states who took the floor. Ultimately 193 of them took the floor. There was no resonance. If you find anything contrary I’m willing to listen,” Akbaruddin said.
Akbaruddin stressed that as a responsible state, India will not be “indifferent to impunity” as an option.
“Our approach is that the response (surgical strike) we undertook yesterday…was a measured, proportionate, counter-terrorist strike. It was reflective of our desire to stop a clear and imminent threat. Our objectives have been met and that effort has since ended,” he said.
He reiterated that India’s effort as a “responsible state” is to respond proportionately and in a measured manner and achieve its objectives.
“In that case, we consider our objectives fulfilled. What spin somebody puts, whether somebody has seen it or not seen it, is not a germane to the issue. That it was undertaken, that we feel that it achieved our objective is important for us as a country,” he said.
On whether India has been approached by the office of the Secretary General or the Security Council regarding de-escalation of the situation, Akbaruddin said, “I did not hear any response to the submission (by Pakistan) yesterday.”
He said as a normal diplomatic practice, if there are any requests to him or other Indian diplomats on any matter, “it is our job as diplomats to respond to them.”
“In the UN we have a very expansive agenda. We have an agenda that deals with peace and security and also climate change, sustainable development goals. It also deals with having a culture of peace integrating and working together with others.
“We are focused on that expansive and extensive agenda. We are not a one agenda state,” he said.
The surgical strike by India came just days after the attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on the Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir that killed 18 jawans.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the attackers will not go “unpunished” and the sacrifice of the jawans will not go in vain.
In her meeting with the UN chief, Lodhi said India’s “claim” of carrying out a surgical strike across the Line of Control was “false” but added that India had by its own admission “committed aggression” against Pakistan.
According to a release by the Pakistan mission here, Lodhi told the Secretary General that Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint but would respond forcefully to any acts of aggression and provocation.
She added that the responsibility for the “escalating crisis rests entirely on India”, the release said.
Briefing him about the escalating situation, Lodhi said “India has, by its declarations and actions, created conditions that pose an imminent threat to regional and International peace and security.”
She said India provoked the crisis to divert international attention away from the “Indigenous Kashmiri uprising” and asked the Secretary General to intervene in bringing an end to the alleged grave human rights in Kashmir.
The Secretary General repeated his offer of extending his good offices to both countries, which the release said Pakistan has always welcomed but India has consistently declined.
Lodhi also asked the Secretary General to ensure that UNMOGIP is able to report independently about the facts of the situation on the ground to the Security Council.
Lodhi further said the Secretary General is “bound by the UN Charter” to “intervene boldly and unequivocally” by calling on India to halt its “aggressive actions and provocations”, lest these lead to an even more dangerous situation.
During the briefing, Dujarric had said that Lodhi’s meeting with Ban was held at her own request and added that Ban’s office does not give readouts of his meetings with Permanent Representatives.
Ujarric reiterated that the Secretary General is following the situation along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan with “great concern and the increased tensions along the LoC as well as the escalating rhetoric” between the two countries.
He stressed that the UN Chief would welcome any proposals to de-escalate the tensions between the nuclear-armed neigbours.