China is Pakistan’s megaphone

United Nations: China on Friday became Islamabad’s spokesperson and told the United Nations that the situation in Kashmir is "serious and dangerous."

Couching its ‘grave concerns’ in broad and generic terms, it dubbed as ‘invalid’ the ‘unilateral practices’ of the Indian government – a loaded reference to the scrapping of Article 370.

The Chinese envoy's statement came after the UNSC held a closed-door meeting on the Kashmir situation – a fall-out of New Delhi's August 5 decision.

India and Pakistan were not attending the meeting, which is open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. Later, addressing a press conference, China also said that India has "violated the bilateral agreement to keep peace in the border areas" by its constitutional amendment.

Russia's deputy permanent representative, Dimitry Polyanskiy, told reporters before entering the meeting room that Mos-cow's view is that it is a "bilateral issue" between India and Pakistan.

He said the meeting was being held to understand what is happening. "That's what closed consultations are for. What does Russia think the next step should be - we favour bilateral track between India and Pakistan. You know our position. It hasn't changed.

Today, we have closed consultations and we will just exchange opinions and see what we can do and what we cannot do. It is a normal process." When asked if Russia was concerned over the tense situation between India and Pakistan, he said, "We are very much concerned. We hope to avoid it."

Whatever, the outcome of the UNSC meeting, it will not be a formal pronouncement as the consultations are informal in nature.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, meanwhile, welcomed the closed-door discussion and said the country was "grateful to China for calling this meeting". Lodhi also said that the "voice of Kashmiri people was heard today".

Meanwhile, Syed Akbaruddin, India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Security, has said that the country's national position was and remains that matters related to Article 370 are entirely an internal matter. “Issued will be resolved bilaterally. Pakistan is trying to mislead the world.’’

He also said the government is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir and restoring the normalcy. "Change is internal to India. This change hasn't affected our external orientation," he said.

The 10 non-permanent members — who are elected for a two-year term by the UN General Assembly — are Belgium, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and South Africa.

While two of them — Indonesia and Kuwait — have sympathised with Pakistan in the past, it will be difficult to persuade others to back the Chinese request.

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