UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Thursday called on nuclear-armed India and Pakistan to “come together and seriously discuss their problems” stemming from the unresolved Kashmir dispute, saying his good offices are always available for mediation.
Replying to a question from APP correspondent Iftikhar Ali at his first press conference in 2021, the UN chief warned that there was no “military solution” to the decades-old conflict.
“It is clear when seeing Pakistan and India, any military confrontation between the two would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions for both countries and for the whole world,” he warned.
“I do believe that is absolutely essential to have a de-escalation of the situation, namely in the Line of Control” in the disputed Kashmir region, Guterres said, adding, “I think it’s absolutely essential for the two countries to be able to come together and seriously discuss their problems.”
“And,” he added, “I think it’s essential that human rights are fully respected in all territories that you mentioned,” referring to the question in which the correspondent highlighted the continuing rights abuses in the Indian occupied Kashmir.
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He said he stood by his statement of Aug. 8, 2019, which called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute based on UN resolutions and the UN Charter.
“Now, things have not moved in the right direction, our good offices are always available, and we will insist within it on finding peaceful solutions for problems that have no military solution.”
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir. Also, in the Siachen Glacier region of northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.
APP with additional input by GVS News desk