Peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia hinges on normalisation of relations between India, Pak: UN official

Islamabad: The peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia hinged on normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India, a top UN official said here on Thursday as he urged the two neighbours to work for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue.

UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, a former Turkish diplomat and politician who is in Pakistan on an official visit, made the comments during a talk on the Importance of Multilateralism’ at the National Defence University here.

Bozkir said peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia hinged on normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India, which was possible by the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

“I urge India and Pakistan to work for a peaceful solution to this problem,” he said.

“I have always urged the parties to refrain from changing the status of the disputed territory,” Bozkir said, apparently in a veiled reference to India’s move to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in August, 2019.

Bozkir, who arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday for an official visit at the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also held talks with him in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and among other matters discussed the issue of Kashmir.

Bozkir “reiterated that @UN position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is governed by the UN Charter and relevant #UNSC resolutions…, the Foreign Office tweeted.

Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama militant attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed in the same month.

The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

Bozkir is the first Turkish national to preside over the UN General Assembly. He also visited Pakistan in August 2020 before taking up the position of President of the UN General Assembly.

During his address, Bozkir also said that the UN’s inaction on the issue of Palestine is hurting its credibility.

“Inaction on the issue of Palestine, which is a grave matter, is damaging the credibility of the United Nations and the Security Council,” Bozkir said, adding that it is hoped that the Security Council will also hear a unanimous vote on this important and necessary issue.

He also spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and said that the coronavirus vaccine is equally needed by rich and poor countries, adding that governments’ efforts are yielding results.

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