Indrani Bagchi on UN statement

From Times of India: “UN Chief’s K-talk has India worried

“India kept a studied silence on the reported statement by UN secretary general Ban-ki Moon asking for “restraint” in Jammu and Kashmir but it’s clear the statement, which has been widely reported, has created a stir within the government.

On the other hand, the exact transcript of the UN secretary general’s statement was not available. The only statement was the reported comments by his spokesperson Farhan Haq. Ban’s statement was not available either with the government or with the UN office in India.

India is likely to push back significantly against this statement both in New Delhi and in UN headquarters in New York. The statement, which takes a critical view of the current unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, in a rare move asks India (which falls in the “all parties”) to exercise “restraint”.

Worse, it asks India and Pakistan to return to the composite dialogue. India has refused to return to the composite dialogue until Pakistan takes credible steps against the accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“He encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of the composite dialogue, which was initiated in 2004 and had made encouraging progress on some important confidence building measures, and to make renewed efforts to address outstanding issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement said. “He (Ban) underlines the need for patience, perseverance and compromise on all sides,” it added.

It has been a while since India has been pulled over the mat diplomatically by the UN secretary general on Kashmir.

For the moment, India will try to ascertain the veracity of the comments attributed to Ban. If they are regarded as credible, India is likely to hit back hard.

However, whether the statement is correctly attributed or not, it had had the effect of focusing international attention on Kashmir and India’s clear inability to control the spiralling protests.”

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