The UN And Uri: Pakistan Goes Scot Free, Pressure Instead to Talk
NEW DELHI: After waging war for hours and days, television anchors in war suits ably aided by sections of the print media, are now spending time going over international statements post Uri to prove that the world is one with India in teaching Pakistan a lesson. The same has been the approach of the Pakistan media, with each using the seeming ambiguity of diplomatic parlance to claim brownie points.
In actual fact, the world has distanced itself from the terror attack that killed 17 Indian soldiers (most of them young in their 20s) at the Army base camp in Uri. And the only consensual message coming out from the United Nations Security Council to both India and Pakistan is: Talk. However, ignorant editors and reporters are being briefed by the respective officials in both Islamabad and New Delhi to read these statements according to their own prejudice, with the wheat being rapidly mixed in the chaff as a result.
All statements from the world leaders have unanimously condemned the attack and expressed support and sympathy for India and the victims. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, according to an official release from his office, made the following points:
- That the “perpetrators of this crime will be identified and brought to justice.”
- That the UN “is following developments closely and shares the concerns of people living in the region for peace.”
- That all involved will prioritize the re-establishment of stability and prevent any further loss of life.
- That the Secretary-General encourages all stakeholders to meet their respective responsibilities to maintain peace and stability.
Official statements from the member nations of the United Nations Security Council have been around this position, with France and Russia steppling a little more than the others across the clearly set line. In that France specifically said, “decisive action as per international law against terroris groups targeting India, in particular, Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen” but did not specify the country. And Russia adding, that according to New Delhi the attack had come from the territory of Pakistan. Again not a direct indictment but a recognition of the Indian position.
The US was particularly circumspect despite the special relationship New Delhi claims to have developed with Washington, by refusing to mention Pakistan, and insisting that both the neighbours needed to talk. The meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan President Nawaz Sharif made it clear that there has been no shift in the US position on Kashmir. Kerry’s statement, as well as statements and remarks issued over the last few days by US State Department officials makes it apparent that:
-for the US, Kashmir remains a dispute to be resolved through dialogue between India and Pakistan;
-there is no change or shift in the US oft articulated position on Kashmir for the past decade and more;
-the US has linked the Uri attack to the over two month violence in the Kashmir Valley;
-while condemning the terror attack it expects both New Delhi and Islamabad to talk and sort out their differences;
- there is no declared shift in Washington’s relation with Pakistan that remains a close, strategic bilateral ally;
- and the US is in no mood to censure Pakistan for the Uri attack.
Kerry reiterated the past US position that “all sides needed to reduce tension” in Kashmir; and it expected Pakistan not to use its territory to provide safe havens for terror groups. This has been reiterated in the past as well by the Americans, to which Pakistan has always responded with the stock answer that it is also against terrorism, that it is a victim of terrorism, and will not allow its territory to be so used. In fact the last is part of bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan through the comprehensive dialogue in the not so distant past.
India has not got the support it was diplomatically looking for, at least not at the first instance from the UN and the Security Council. The condemnation of Uri has not extended to cover Pakistan, and while the two defence partners and suppliers to India Russia and France have been slightly more adventurous, their response also falls short of what New Delhi was in all probability looking for.
The US, UN, UK, China have all refrained from censuring Pakistan even mildly. Instead there has been a parity, worked into the responses, by linking Uri with the violence in Kashmir and asking for a reduction in tensions; and the repeated insistence that the solution for such violence lies in talks between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan on the other hand has got away with one, the terror attack on Uri without direct censure from the UNSC member nations, or the UN Secretary General himself;
Two, the equation between Kashmir and the terror attack on Uri that has been made by Washington as well;
Three, increasing pressure on India to talk with all countries now speaking of this along with the condemnation of the attack.
This according to sources here, was Pakistan’s intention all along. Islamabad is keen to get New Delhi back on to the negotiating table and went into a diplomatic overdrive, with Sharif personally heading it at the UN, to impress upon the world community the need to revive the dialogue. The US response in particular, has kept Pakistan out of the hot chair as it were, with Kerry speaking of a “strong, long term bilateral relationship” with that country. As a senior retired diplomat said, this round has gone to Pakistan regardless of what the media is being fed, and made to say.
Despite the loud talk, and reports in a section of the media of the Indian soldiers going across the border to inflict casualties that the Army has stoutly denied, it is clear that the international limitations on India remain in place. And that any decision to militarily “punish” Pakistan will be fraught with global consequences. Washington has not even recognised Uri as a case of cross border terrorism. It has instead been far more definitive about the need to bring down the violence and tensions in Kashmir, and for both Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve this through talks.