As China raised the move to scrap the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories with India and days after Pakistan approached the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over J&K, Poland — which currently holds the UNSC presidency — has made it clear that Delhi and Islamabad should find a solution “bilaterally”.
This is the first time that Poland has spoken out on the heightened diplomatic tension between India and Pakistan.
This also puts a lid on Pakistan’s attempts to raise the issue at the UNSC for the time being.
Poland’s backing of a bilateral solution to the Kashmir dispute comes after Russia, a UNSC permanent member, underscored Saturday that India’s move was carried out “within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India”.
Poland holds the presidency of the UNSC for the month of August. The presidency rotates monthly among the members of the Security Council.
While Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale had briefed envoys in Delhi earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had dialled Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz last Thursday.
Speaking to The Indian Express Monday, Poland’s ambassador to India Adam Burakowski said, “Poland hopes that both countries can work out a mutually beneficial solution bilaterally.”
Expressing “concern” over the current tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the proposed changes to the status of J&K, Burakowski said, “Poland believes that the dispute can only be resolved by peaceful means. Like the EU, we are in favour of dialogue between India and Pakistan.”
“As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, Poland stands ready, if needed, to engage in preventing actions impacting security situation,” he said.
The Polish envoy, who has been following the development in the region and has been key in sending reports from Delhi, said, “I would like to emphasise on the word ‘bilaterally’ that’s the keyword.”
This is a shot in the arm for New Delhi since India has always maintained that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan, in accordance with the Simla Agreement in 1972 and the Lahore Declaration in 1999.
Pakistan’s Imran Khan government, however, had decided to reach out to the UN, including the Security Council, and raise the Kashmir issue. Islamabad has long sought to internationalise the issue.
Sources said that the phone conversation between Jaishankar and the Polish Foreign Minister was key to framing their view. Jaishankar had, on August 8, briefed the Polish side, on India’s position concerning the modified status of J&K.
According to the Polish Foreign Ministry statement, Jaishankar had explained that the amendment repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is of “strictly internal nature” and aims at “bringing security to the region that is particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks”.
Jaishankar had emphasised that the recent amendment to the Constitution does not entail any international consequences and aims to end the temporary situation and to create better opportunities for the growth in the region, according to the statement.
Polish Foreign Minister Czaputowicz had expressed hope that dialogue with Pakistan will prevent tension between the two countries.