EDITORIAL: In deciding to hold the G20 meeting in Srinagar, India actually wanted to seek international legitimacy for its illegal annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, it has suffered a huge embarrassment. Days before the three-day event got under way on Monday, China had made it clear that it was firmly opposed “to holding any kind of G20 meetings in the disputed territory.
” Beijing has reasons for its annoyance with the Narendra Modi government over its August 2019 revocation of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and declaring Jammu, the Valley, and Laddakh, over which China has claims, as Union territories. Earlier, Beijing had refused to participate in G20 meeting in Arunachal Pradesh, where the two countries have been locked in a military confrontation.
Two regional heavyweights, Turkiye and Saudi Arabia, have also stayed away from the moot in Srinagar in solidarity with Pakistan. Absence of the former, in particular, must have come as a jolt to New Delhi, its second largest source of energy imports and fourth largest trading partner. No less important, Saudi Arabia also provides employment to the second highest number of Indians after the UAE.
Both countries have shown, once again, that in times of need Pakistan can count on their support for its principled stand on the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, reports from Srinagar say India is trying hard to show to other members of the G20 that the situation in the disputed territory is ‘normal’. Additional troops have been called in to suppress any manifestation of unrest. According to media reports, hundreds of Kashmiris have been detained in police stations and thousands, including shopkeepers, received calls from officials warning against any “signs of protest or trouble”.
But the veneer of normality India has been striving to project was stripped off last week by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, as he said in a Twitter post that G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir while massive human rights violations are ongoing is lending support to India to normalise the brutal and repressive denial of democratic and other rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities.
He went on to aver, “G20 should on the contrary uphold international human rights obligations & the # UN Declaration of Human Rights should be upheld... and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should be decried and condemned, not pushed under the rug and ignored with the holding of this meeting.” Other members of the group, especially Western countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, surely are aware of all this. Unfortunately, they make selective application of human rights, international law and UN resolutions. Political and economic considerations take precedence over moral obligations.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023
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