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India, Pak. raise Kashmir issue in U.N.

United Nations May 14 . For the first time in several years India and Pakistan did not attack each other directly while raising the Kashmir issue in the U.N. Security Council, with New Delhi maintaining that differences are best settled through bilateral negotiations and Islamabad stating that a solution to the problem can be achieved only after fulfilling the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

During a Security Council debate on pacific resolution of conflicts yesterday, the U.N. Ambassador, Vijay K. Nambiar, repeatedly stressed during his presentation that resolution of issues through bilateral negotiations was advocated by the world body's charter and that such a course was also seen by ``distinguished jurists'' as the ``most preferred methods of settlement of disputes.''

As it involved bargaining and may involve elements of give and take, there was a greater probability of the parties carrying out the agreement faithfully, he said, adding that an imposed solution was likely to be reopened by the aggrieved party and thus would be no real settlement.

Mr. Nambiar throughout his address did not name either Pakistan or Kashmir.

But he did criticise continuous low-intensity proxy wars through infiltration, cross border terrorism and other means using force and said such a situation did confer the right on the victim state to take all necessary measures in self-defence just as would be the case if there was an armed attack.

He also effectively rejected Pakistan's contention that there should be a U.N. supervised plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, pointing to the fact that events have overtaken such an approach.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister, Khurshid M. Kasuri, who presided over the meeting, as his country is the president of the Council for the current month, agreed that the Shimla agreement and the Lahore Declaration to which both countries were parties supported bilateral discussions.

``At the Agra summit in July 2001, Pakistan and India almost succeeded in launching a framework for revived talks,'' he said but did not blame anyone for the failure.

He referred to the Kashmir issue and the Council resolution adopted following negotiations and agreement between the two countries which, he said, promised a ``free and fair plebiscite under U.N. auspices to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join India or Pakistan.''

But he did not directly blame India, saying that the process ran aground due to the cold war when the Council could not persuade the parties to implement the resolution and then went on to say that the Shimla agreement and the Lahore declaration supported a solution through bilateral discussion.

He did say that no durable peace was possible unless the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir were taken into consideration and called for flexibility, goodwill and wisdom on both sides to resolve the issue.

He sought the support of the international community in the fresh endeavour of the two countries for peace, but did not call for its intervention.

In an apparent reply to Mr. Kasuri's mention of the Security Council resolution, Mr. Nambiar, who spoke later, said that where member states had agreed to implement the resolution of the U.N., they were justified in expecting such implementation to be complete and in the sequence agreed to without ``emasculation, revision or re-interpretation.''

Mr. Nambiar's reference obviously was to the provision in the resolution that Pakistan must first vacate the territory under its occupation before the subsequent provisions could be put into operation. Islamabad did not implement that provision.

``Where attempts are made to apply such resolutions selectively or in partial, self-serving manner, they have obviously not worked but have only served to subvert their original spirit. In some cases, their subtext has changed and they have proved obsolete, defunct and overtaken by events.''

Mr. Nambiar was obviously implying that what Kasuri said about plebiscite has been overtaken by the events.

India's experience with the working of the U.N., he said, had been ``sufficiently long and educative'' for it to remain vigilant of threats, pressures and blandishments that had been exerted during various periods of history ``in the guise of furthering the pacific settlement of disputes affecting us.'' — PTI

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