G20 meeting in Jammu & Kashmir – Critical analysis of the objections by Pakistan

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

After India released a full calendar of G20 events, Pakistan, which is not a member of G20, has raised objections over India organising G20 events in Srinagar, Kashmir. Srinagar will host the third meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group under India’s G20 Presidency from May 22 to 24.

After the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Bali in December of last year, Indonesia passed the baton of the G20’s yearly chairmanship to India. India published a complete calendar of events running up to the summit on April 7, 2023. This calendar featured meetings of the G20 and Youth-20 in Srinagar, Kashmir, and Leh, in the neighbouring region of Ladakh, in April and May.

These fixtures are created following thorough discussions with and approval by the member participants. International meetings need a lot of planning and consideration.

Surprisingly, Pakistan, not a member of G20, has voiced opposition to India hosting G-20 events in Srinagar, Kashmir. What are its objections? Let’s try to separate these from a jumble of accusations and hints. First off, Pakistan has no business interfering in issues that are solely the province of the G20 members as it is not a member of the group.

In its statement, Pakistan says, “The Foreign Office had in June last year cautioned G20 countries against accepting Delhi’s proposal for holding some of the meetings of the bloc’s next year’s summit in India-held Jammu and Kashmir, saying India attempted to legitimise its illegal control of the disputed region.”

The caution given to the G20 by Pakistan’s foreign office in June of last year went haywire. The G20 meeting did not take Pakistan’s “caution” into consideration and carried on with its regular activity. The implication is that Pakistan’s requests to stop India from hosting G20 meetings in Kashmir were all rejected. The outcome of repeated objections must therefore be the same.

Pakistan claims that New Delhi’s decision to host some meetings in Srinagar is “self-serving.” In its statement, Pakistan’s foreign office says, “India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in sheer disregard of the UN Security Council resolutions and violation of the principles of the UN Charter and international law”.

We must talk about two issues. Jammu and Kashmir is currently under “illegal occupation” by India. The second is “in blatant defiance of the resolutions of the UN Security Council.”

Let’s study what is said in the SC Resolution.

SC Resolution of 21 April 1948 comprises three parts. Summing up succinctly, Part I begins with imposing obligations on Pakistan that (a) Pakistan undertakes to secure the withdrawal of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals from J&K and (b) prevents and stops any intrusion into the state. Obligations imposed on India were (a) Withdrawal of troops conditional to the Commission’s satisfaction that Pakistani nationals and tribesmen were withdrawn and ceasefire made effective, (b) Plan progressive reduction of forces till only minimum strength needed for enforcement of law and order was retained.

Part I of the SC Resolution to which the Pakistani foreign office has referred in their statement lays the first condition that Pakistan was required to fulfil viz. “secure withdrawal of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals.”

This obligation is pregnant with two important logical conclusions. The first is that Pakistani tribesmen and nationals have entered Kashmir and are still there. The second conclusion is that an incursion of Kashmir was undertaken and Pakistan has to withdraw them.

Has Pakistan withdrawn its citizens and tribespeople from Kashmir? Let the Pakistani foreign ministry respond. In order to combat the Indian forces, Pakistan sent numerous fully equipped regular army battalions. Who disregarded the 21 April 1948 SC Resolution? Pakistan’s false claim that it did not support the incursion into Kashmir on October 22, 1947, was exposed by this direction in the resolution.

The Pakistani foreign minister notified the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) upon its arrival in Karachi on July 7, 1948, that the Pakistani army at the time had three Brigades of regular troops in Kashmir, which had been transferred to the State during the first half of May 1948.

A member of the Commission, Joseph Korbel, said, “This disclosure of Pakistan had changed the entire complexion of the Kashmir issue.”

It was on June 5, 1968 when Nehru wrote to the SC President that there could be no question of the Commission proceeding to implement the resolution till objections raised by the Government of India were satisfactory met.

Due to Pakistan’s purposeful actions against its spirit as well as its refusal to implement it, the SC Resolution of April 21, 1948 is no longer in effect. Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan, two former UN Secretaries General, said that the UN had no involvement in Kashmir after India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Accord. Even in 1995, Boutros Ghali wished to have the Kashmir problem taken off the UN’s agenda, and his successor Kofi Annan said a Chapter VI resolution passed fifty years earlier is “un-implementable.”

When testifying before the US House International Relations Subcommittee in 2002, when relations between the US and Pakistan were at their best, the then-US assistant secretary of state again acknowledged that “in the US view, the Shimla Agreement had superseded the UN resolutions of the 1940s on Kashmir.”

The Pakistani foreign office continues to think that exchanging lies and canards will help it in Kashmir. India has repeatedly reaffirmed its readiness and ability to retrieve the part of J&K State still under Pakistan’s illegal control. Additionally, India cannot shirk its moral obligation to protect the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, who have been pleading with the Indian Prime Minister to free them from the control of bloodthirsty Pakistani colonialists for a long time.

Why is Pakistan beating its breast for Kashmir? The answer is really quite easy. The only lifebuoy Pakistan has left to prevent utter shipwreck is Kashmir’s tantrum. But, the lifebuoy, too, is giving away. Alas! Pakistan does not read the writing on the wall.

There has been significant socio-economic development in Indian side of Kashmir since last decade. India is trying to showcase this development to the world by holding G20 meet on Tourism in Srinagar. This is important in the light of the fact that a record 18.8 million tourists visited Indian side of Kashmir in 2022. This is the highest in the last decade. Pakistan instead should learn from India and focus on the socio-economic development on their side of Kashmir to improve the quality of life of the people.