Jammu & Kashmir

Relevance of U.N. resolutions

Print edition : February 05, 2016

July 20, 1950: Jawaharlal Nehru (right), with Sir Owen Dixon and Liaquat Ali Khan (left), Prime Minister of Pakistan, in New Delhi. Dixon, appointed by the U.N. to mediate the differences between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, came up with the Dixon Plan, the only one which came closest to a peaceful solution. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Dr Frank P. Graham (centre) with the Indian Representative to the U.N., Sardar H.S. Malik (left), and the Pakistan representative, Sir Zafrullah Khan, after submitting his second report to the U.N. Security Council. Photo: The Hindu Archives

April 28, 1948: N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar (left) and M.C. Setalvad, members of the Indian delegation to the United Nations Security Council, returning to New Delhi. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Plebiscite Administrator for Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Though most of the U.N. resolutions on Kashmir have been overtaken by recent events, two that define the contours of the conflict are still relevant: Kashmir is a dispute between Pakistan and India, and no solution to the dispute will be legitimate without the participation of the people of Kashmir.

ON January 5, 2016, Syed Ali Shah Geelani held a meeting of his increasingly dwindling band of active supporters at his house to commemorate the anniversary of the resolution of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) on a plebiscite in Kashmir. It is doubtful whether this autocrat or his likes have ever read the minutiae of that document or, still less, reflected on a question of fundamental importance.

What if India, or any other state, had not taken the Kashmir dispute to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) and, consequently, it had passed no resolution on it at all? Would the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have been deprived of their right to decide their future? Does that right derive from anything which any organ of the U.N. did or failed to do? To bank on a resolution of that erratic body is to belittle the Kashmiris’ birthright.

However, if “the U.N. Resolutions” are relied on as scripture by some in Pakistan and Kashmir, in India they are derided as being irrelevant and obsolete. Neither school cares to specify which resolution it has in mind, the ones adopted by the UNSC or those adopted by the body it set up, the UNCIP.

The Partition Plan of June 3, 1947, was followed by talks on its consequences. As early as on June 13, 1947, at a meeting of the Joint Defence Council over which Governor-General Mountbatten presided, the differences —which have ruined the subcontinent—came to the fore. Mohammad Ali Jinnah asserted that it was for the ruler [of a princely state] to decide on the issue of accession. Jawaharlal Nehru rejoined that it was for the people to decide that issue. Jinnah made his stand public in statements made on June 17 and July 30.

The All India Congress Committee declared in a Resolution on June 15 that “the people of the States must have a dominant voice in any decisions regarding them” ( The Times of India, June 16, 1947). By Jinnah’s logic, Hari Singh was free to opt for India. Jinnah accepted Junagadh’s accession to Pakistan and strenuously encouraged the Nizam of Hyderabad not to accede to India. When, following a tribal raid from Pakistan, Hari Singh acceded to India, India stuck to its stand. The Instrument of Accession had a collateral document signed by Mountbatten, on the very same date and also simultaneously with his acceptance of that Instrument, which said explicitly: “ Consistent with their policy that, in the case of any State where the issue of the accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people” (emphasis added throughout). This recognised that an India-Pakistan dispute existed.

The White Paper on Jammu and Kashmir (1948) says that, “In accepting the accession the Government of India made it clear that they would regard it as purely provisional until such time as the will of the people could be ascertained.” In a public statement issued on October 30, 1947, the government of India announced: “It is desirable to draw attention to the conditions on which the Government of India have accepted Kashmir’s accession.”

In law and morality, the collateral document is part of the main document, the Instrument of Accession. No wonder the government of India initially called the accession “provisional” or “conditional”. The Kashmiris’ right to decide their future was recognised and accepted along with acceptance of Kashmir’s accession to India, and well before the matter was referred to the Security Council.

That an India-Pakistan dispute had arisen was also recognised by India. In the correspondence with Pakistan immediately upon the accession, in a telegram of October 25, 1947, addressed to Prime Minister of Britain and repeated the next day to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nehru said: “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the State to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people and we adhere to this view.”

In a telegram of October 31, 1947, to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Nehru said: “Our assurance that we shall withdraw our troops from Kashmir as soon as peace and order are restored and leave the decision about the future of the State to the people of the State is not merely a pledge to your Government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world.” Broadcasting to the nation on November 2, Nehru said: “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir has ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given, and the Maharaja had supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not, and cannot, back out of it.”

Thus, regardless of “the U.N.’s Resolutions” and well ahead of them, the right of the people of Kashmir was never questioned, nor was Pakistan’s locus standi as a party to the dispute on the future of Jammu and Kashmir. The UNSC passed resolutions on Kashmir over 50 years, from 1948 to 1998. Each deserves notice in the light of its background.

On January 1, 1948, India recorded its “desire to report the situation to the Security Council under Article 35 of the (U.N.’s) Charter”. It enabled any Member to bring to the Council’s attention “any dispute or any situation” which might “lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute” whose continuance was likely to endanger peace. The Council makes “ recommendations”. They are not binding on members. Chapter VIII concerns “Action with respect to threats to the Peace, breaches of the Peace, and acts of aggression”. The Council “decides” what measures to take. Its decisions are binding (Article 25).

UNSC Proceedings

India’s three requests to the UNSC were: to prevent the personnel of the government of Pakistan from participating in the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir; to call upon its nationals to desist from taking part in the fighting there; and to deny the invaders aid and access. On January 15, 1948, Pakistan filed its counter-complaint on issues ranging from Kashmir to others, including division of cash balances and stores. This is why the matter was inscribed on the agenda of the Council as the “India-Pakistan Question”. The U.N. Commission was for India and Pakistan. Pakistan asked for a ceasefire and a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir under a representative administration “as to whether the State shall accede to Pakistan or to India”. In his public statements on June 17 and July 30, 1947, Jinnah had said that the states had the right “to remain independent”. But from 1948 onwards, in every single pronouncement on the subject, Pakistan eliminated “The Third Option”, Independence. This was a curtailment of the right to self-determination.

Two arrogant and egregious pomposities, Sir N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, former Dewan of Jammu and Kashmir, and M.C. Setalvad, Advocate General of India, were sent to argue India’s case. Pakistan sent its Foreign Minister Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, a man of slender scruples but of great bonhomie to present its case. No wonder Zafrullah Khan outshone the other two. Gopalaswami Ayyangar spoke on January 15 and Zafrullah Khan on January 16 and 17, 1948. Brevity was not the forte of Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan’s Krishna Menon, whose legalism thwarted any prospects of conciliation. But both delegations were polite to each other given their earlier acquaintance in New Delhi.

The Council adopted the following resolutions:

1. On January 17, 1948, (S/651) asking the parties not to “aggravate the situation” and “to inform the Council immediately of any material change in the situation”. Pakistan did not, when it sent three brigades into Kashmir later.

2. On January 20, 1948, (S/654) setting up a commission comprising a member from each side and a third designated by them. Its terms of reference drove New Delhi into a frenzy. They covered much else besides Kashmir:

“C. The Commission is invested with a dual function: (1) to investigate the facts pursuant to Article 34 of the Charter; (2) to exercise, without interrupting the work of the Security Council any mediatory influence likely to smooth away difficulties, to carry out the directions given to it by the Security Council, and to report how far the advice and directions, if any, of the Security Council, have been carried out.

“D. The Commission shall perform the functions described in clause C: (1) in regard to the situation in the JAMMU and KASHMIR State set out in the Letter of the Representative of India addressed to the President of the Security Council, dated 1 January 1948, and in the letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan addressed to the Secretary-General, dated 15 January 1948; and (2) in regard to the other situations set out in the letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan addressed to the Secretary-General, dated 15 January 1948, when the Security Council so directs.”

This was poor consolation. The Indian delegation decided on February 8 to return for consultations, which was an intimation of withdrawal. It returned a month later. After prolonged consultations, the Council acted, but only three months later.

3. On April 21, 1948, (S/726) a long resolution expanded membership of the committee to five and directed it to “proceed at once to the Indian subcontinent and there place its good offices and mediation” at the disposal of both governments. It provided for a ceasefire, disengagement of troops, a coalition government in Srinagar, and the appointment of a Plebiscite Administrator. Pakistan accepted it on April 30 “under protest and with (without?) prejudice”; India stood by its stand but agreed “to confer with it” (May 7).

4. On June 3, 1948, (S/819) the Council had to ask the lethargic Commission “to proceed without delay” to accomplish its task “in priority”. It directed “the Commission of Mediation to proceed without delay to the areas of dispute with a view to accomplishing in priority the duties assigned to it by the Resolution of 21 April 1948, And directs the Commission further to study and report to the Security Council when it considers appropriate on the matters raised in the letter of Foreign Minister of Pakistan, dated 15 January 1948, in the order outlined in paragraph D of the Resolution of the Council dated 20 January 1948.” This elicited a vigorous protest from Nehru (June 5). He was assured on June 9 that Kashmir would retain its priority.

UNCIP Resolutions

The Commission took 11 long weeks to get to work and arrived in Karachi only on July 5. It was informed that Pakistan had sent three brigades to Kashmir. The UNCIP adopted two resolutions. One, on August 13, 1948, (S/1100, paragraph 75) provided for the withdrawal of Pakistan’s troops and the raiders; the territory so evacuated “will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission”. India was to withdraw “the bulk of its forces from the State”.

It added this pledge: “The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement, both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured.” This wording left open the third option, Independence. Nehru accepted it on August 20, 1948, in the light of his objections and the UNCIP’s clarifications. Zafrullah Khan proposed, on August 19, either “a ceasefire pure and simple” or “a complete and final solution” of the Kashmir “question”. The UNCIP regretted (September 19) his [Zafrullah Khan’s] inability to accept the resolution “without attacking certain conditions beyond the compass of the resolution”.

One of its members, Joseph Korbel, a Czech nominated by India, wrote a memoir, Danger in Kashmir, in which he criticised the Commission’s lethargy and style of work. His daughter, Madeleine Albright, later became the United States’ Secretary of State. The other members were from Argentina, Belgium, Colombia and the U.S. The UNCIP submitted its First Interim Report to the Security Council, then in session in Paris, on November 22, 1948 (S/1100). It said it was “pursuing its work”. Consultations in Paris yielded an agreement on the details of the plebiscite mechanism which were set out in the UNCIP’s second resolution of January 5, 1949, which Geelani now recalls. It formed part of the Second Interim Report on January 10, 1949 (S/1196).

It required the U.N. Secretary-General to nominate a Plebiscite Administrator. He did so in March 1949 after consulting all concerned—Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the U.S. He was to be inducted into the office by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Refugees were to be repatriated. One wonders how many of them are alive in 2016. All others, bar the “citizens of the State” were to “leave the State”. Nimitz was to report the result of the plebiscite to the UNCIP and to the State government. The Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) regime (“Azad Kashmir”) was never put on a par with it.

Both countries accepted it. However, Pakistan lost much territory in Kashmir between August 1948 and January 1949 as a result of India’s new military offensive. V.K. Krishna Menon stated in the Security Council on February 8, 1957, that “the only international engagements that exist are two resolutions of the UNCIP dated August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949. These are the engagements. If they were of a formal character, they might be treaties, but, at any rate, they are the engagements we have entered into—the resolution of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949”. Thus, the rights and contentions of both sides arising from events in the past were now merged into solemn agreements. The sole question that now remained was the implementation of these agreements. It was wrong to talk of “aggression” once the resolutions were accepted.

But, the plebiscite was contingent on agreement on disengagement of troops as envisaged in the UNCIP’s resolution of August 11, 1948. It made two proposals on truce, on April 2 and 15, 1949. Both states rejected them. The differences centred on the forces of the so-called “Azad Kashmir Government” in PoK which had swelled to 35 battalions since 1948 and on India’s flat refusal to withdraw “the bulk” of its forces. The UNCIP’s Third and Final Report, on December 9, 1949, (S/1430), admitted its failure. Its only success was to secure agreement on a ceasefire line in Jammu and Kashmir, which was signed in Karachi on July 29, 1949.

From 1950 to 1958, the UNCIP was replaced by a Single U.N. Representative on Kashmir, mandated by successive resolutions of the UNSC. But not before both sides asked its President General A.G.L. McNaughton, of Canada, to draw up a plan. His proposal of December 27, 1949, failed. The differences could not be overcome (S/1453).

5. On March 14, 1950, a resolution appointed a U.N. representative to mediate on the differences (S/1469). Sir Owen Dixon, judge (later Chief Justice) of the High Court of Australia, was chosen. His report on September 15, 1950, couched in elegant prose, was the only one which came close to a solution and also exposed Nehru’s intransigence (S/1791). He arranged a meeting between Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan in New Delhi under his auspices. He proposed partition of the State and a plebiscite in the Valley—the famous Dixon Plan. He rejected “an over-all plebiscite”. The report, a classic, calls for a detailed analysis to show the parties’ attitudes. Suffice it now to note his sage advice. “For myself I doubt whether it may not be better to leave the parties to themselves in negotiating terms for the settlement of the problem how to dispose of Jammu and Kashmir between them. So far the attitude of the parties has been to throw the whole responsibility upon the Security Council or its Representatives of settling the dispute, notwithstanding that, except by agreement between them, there was no means of settling it.” The Security Council had no power to impose a solution—no matter how many resolutions it passed.

It continued to do so. Pakistan had to assure its people that something was being done. India, in possession, could afford to sit pat. Nehru had, in private, ruled out a plebiscite as far back as in 1948, as he revealed to Sheikh Abdullah in a note from Sonamarg dated August 25, 1952. The United States had to oblige Pakistan, now its military ally, by supporting the resolutions.

Dr Frank P. Graham of the U.S. was a Micawber par excellence. His mandate was renewed on the faith of his optimistic reports. He remained on the U.N.’s payroll long after mediation was dead. So did Nimitz. Graham submitted as many as five reports to keep himself busy from 1951 to 1958.

6. On March 30, 1951, by resolution (S/2017) the Council decided to appoint a new representative. The choice fell on Dr Frank P. Graham.

7. November 10, 1951 (S/2392): mandate renewed.

8. December 23, 1952 (S/2553): mandate renewed, again.

9. January 24, 1957: decided “to continue its consideration of the dispute”.

10. February 21, 1957: The President of the UNSC, Gunnar Jarring of Sweden, was asked to do his bit.

11. December 2, 1957: Dr Frank P. Graham was asked to resume (S/3922).

The reports, fruits of exercises in futility, are:

1. Graham’s first report, October 15, 1951 (S/2375). Pinpointed the differences.

2. Second report, December 19, 1951 (S/2443). Recorded accord on points on which accord already existed. Sought renewal for the rest. Broke no new ground.

3. Third report, April 22, 1962 (S/2611).

4. Fourth report, September 19, 1952 (S/2783).

5. Fifth report, March 27, 1953 (S/2967). No progress. It is important to note that Zafrullah Khan continued to reject Graham’s proposals as regularly as India did.

6. Gunnar Jarring’s report of April 29, 1957 (S/3821) tried to break new ground but failed. He, however, made this pertinent observation: “The Council will, furthermore, be aware of the fact that the implementation of international agreements of an ad hoc character, which has not been achieved fairly speedily, may become progressively more difficult because the situation with which they were to cope has tended to change.” This was over 50 years ago.

7. Graham had another go, his last. His report on March 31, 1958, (S/3984) was more of the same. The trip must have convinced him at last that he was no longer welcome in New Delhi.

The Soviet Union vetoed a draft resolution of June 22, 1962, (S/5134) proposed by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France. It had earlier vetoed a similar resolution on February 14, 1957, but changed its mind a week later, to Graham’s relief.

Pakistan’s desperation

On January 16, 1964, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wrote to the Council’s President, requesting him to convene a meeting to consider the steps which India had taken to integrate Kashmir with the Union of India (S/5517). The debates that followed yielded no resolution; merely a statement by the President on May 18, 1964, summing up the debate. He concluded: “Several members of the Council expressed the view that the Secretary-General of the United Nations might possibly give useful assistance to the parties in order to facilitate the resumption of negotiations on the question of Jammu and Kashmir, or might help them to continue such negotiations in the event of the latter encountering difficulties. Other members of the Council, however, expressed the view that the negotiations between India and Pakistan might be complicated by any outside intervention and that even the principle of having recourse to the Secretary-General should be a matter for agreement between the parties. The India-Pakistan question remains on the agenda of the Security Council.”

The failure rankled in Bhutto’s mind. In 1965, it drove him to prod President Ayub Khan to seek a military solution to the Kashmir issue. In 1972, it persuaded him to accept bilateralism in the Shimla Pact.

This brings us to Pakistan’s last desperate gamble—the military attack on Kashmir in 1965. The UNSC adopted four Resolutions in all.

12. September 4, 1965 (S/6661); Immediate ceasefire.

13. September 6, 1965; Cease hostilities; the Secretary-General to give effect to these two resolutions.

14. September 20, 1965 (S/Res/211(1965)): “Demands” a ceasefire (under Chapter VII) and restoration of the status quo before August 5, 1965. Paragraph 4 read: “ Decides to consider as soon as operative paragraph 1 of the Council’s resolution 210 of 6 September has been implemented, what steps could be taken to assist towards a settlement of the political problem underlying the present conflict, and in the meantime calls on the two Governments to utilise all peaceful means, including those listed in Article 33 of the Charter, to this end; Requests the Secretary-General to exert every possible effort to give effect to this Resolution, to seek a peaceful solution, and to report to the Security Council thereon.” The word “decides” notwithstanding, he did nothing.

15. September 27, 1965; and

16. November 5, 1965; Both were on ceasefire violations. The Tashkent Declaration of January 10, 1966 overtook all that.

The 50-year charade ended with the UNSC’s Resolution 1172 of June 6, 1998, on the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. Paragraph 5: “ Urges India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue between them on all outstanding issues, particularly on all matters pertaining to peace and security, in order to remove the tensions between them, and encourages them to find mutually acceptable solutions that address the root causes of those tensions, including Kashmir.” Paragraph 15: “Requests the Secretary-General to report urgently to the Council on the steps taken by India and Pakistan to implement the present resolution.” Like his predecessor in 1965, he ignored this resolution too. What have the 16 resolutions of the UNSC and two of the UNCIP achieved? The resolutions of September 20, 1965, and June 6, 1998, did not recall “the U.N. Resolutions” of old; only the political problem and that to be negotiated by the parties themselves.

This is why, during the debates on the Shimla Pact, Bhutto reminded the National Assembly that all Pakistan got when it last moved the UNSC in 1964 was a statement by the President. Indira Gandhi, on her part, said she was not afraid of Pakistan going to the UNSC. None of its P-5 [five permanent members of the Security Council] adhered any longer to “the UN Resolutions” in 1964 and 1965.

Now, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.N., Munir Akram, advises: “The best defence is offence. Pakistan should revive the demand for implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions (sic) on Kashmir” —which ones, he does not specify ( Dawn, August 30, 2015). In the same vein, he counsels: “Provide generous financial support to Kashmiri political parties seeking self-determination; invite them to meet in Pakistan or elsewhere and help to unify them to unify their struggle for freedom.” Did you hear the cry in Srinagar “Save us from such ‘friends’”? Men who are barely on speaking terms are not likely to speak if some dollars are put in their mouths. They will not be amused but offended by Akram’s insolence.

The ineptness in this veteran whizz-kid of Pakistan’s Foreign Service is astonishing. As discerning ones had long suspected, his forte lay in hard work and in mastery of the papers. He lacked a broader perspective, let alone a vision. He remained a hardworking noisy diplomatic adolescent who never grew up. The last time Pakistan raised Kashmir in the UNSC in 1964, it discovered lack of support. In the last half century, that support has dwindled. A state which moves the UNSC must first assess the support it can count on receiving if it is not to be exposed to ridicule.

The fate of U.N. resolutions

This is what Timothy Sainsbury, the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said in the House of Commons on March 30, 1990: “There were a number of United Nations resolutions on Kashmir in 1948 and 1949. The issue at the time was whether Kashmir should accede to Pakistan or India. Britain voted in favour of these resolutions, the texts of which represented agreement between India and Pakistan at the time. But much has happened since, not least the 1972 Simla Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. Under that agreement, both countries agreed to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed on between them. Both sides also committed themselves to a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir. Our longstanding position is entirely consistent with the terms of the agreement. We are confident that real progress in settling this dispute can be made only by agreements reached between India and Pakistan.”

A News Department statement of November 3, 1991, in London was blunt. “Neither India nor Pakistan fully implemented these Resolutions. They are now 40 years old and have, to some extent, been overtaken by events”. It cited the Shimla Pact.

The U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesman, Philip Reeker, said on June 3, 2002: “There are U.N. resolutions and other things that have never been fulfilled over a long period of time.” The cruellest blow came from China. On February 20, 1990, Defence Minister Qian Jinvel spoke to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of “the relevant U.N. resolutions”. Indian protests led to its dilution by Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, who said the Kashmir issue “has been discussed by the United Nations”. He said this in New Delhi on March 23, 1990. Since then, Chinese statements have uniformly advocated “a peaceful solution through negotiations”.

There is a more fundamental problem besides. As Andrew Boyd remarked in his mini classic United Nations: Piety, Myth and Truth, beneath the gift-wrapping of the U.N. lay “a do-it-yourself kit—with incomplete instructions and a price tag”. The U.N. must not be referred to as “it” but as “they”—or “we”. It is run by a coalition of P-5 in the UNSC who pursue their national interests. In 2016, none of them has any interest in uniting to propose a settlement on Kashmir. Such a unity is impossible; more, even if they did unite diplomatically, India cannot be dislodged from Kashmir.

Ineptness is not Munir Akram’s only fault. He showed lack of professional integrity as well, which came close to wrecking the most promising peace process on Kashmir. This is what he probably wanted. The episode is narrated by Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in his book Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove. In a speech he drafted for President Pervez Musharraf to be delivered at the U.N. General Assembly in 2005, Akram inserted a reference to the “UNSC Resolutions” which offended the Indian delegation. “I must confess that the Indians were nonplussed by the sudden change in the tone of the speech as it was at variance with the President’s UNGA speech of 2004” (page 230). An official who smuggles in his own line, which is “at variance” with the then government’s policy, in a speech drafted for the President, is guilty of lack of professional integrity.

A few years ago, the Secretary-General decided to erase the moribund item “India-Pakistan Question” from the UNSC’s agenda. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Ahmad Kamal, went into overdrive to get it restored. Would the Kashmiris’ rights have vanished into thin air if he had failed? The two high-flyers, Munir Akram and he, had a spat in Geneva in 1993 on Pakistan’s resolution on Kashmir at the Geneva Human Rights Commission; each vied for Benazir Bhutto’s support. Dilution of the tacit censure of India would have ensured its success. The spat ensured its defeat.

However, India would be wholly wrong in dismissing all the UNSC’s resolutions. A Common formulation in two of them retains its force and validity even in 2016 as does a decision. The Formulation; the resolution (S/2017/Rev 1) of March 30, 1951, said: “Affirming that the convening of a Constituent Assembly as recommended by the General Council of the ‘All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference’, and any action that Assembly might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle” which was “that the final disposal of the State of Jammu & Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”.

The resolution (S/3779) of January 24, 1957, repeated it with added emphasis. “Reaffirms the affirmation in its resolution of 30 March 1951 and declares that the convening of a Constituent Assembly as recommended by the General Council of the ‘All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference’ and any action that Assembly may have taken or might attempt to take to determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State or any part thereof, or action by the parties concerned in support of any such action by the Assembly, would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle” (quoted above). India cannot “end the chapter” and declare the dispute closed unilaterally even if plebiscite is ruled out.

Right to Self-Determination

Plebiscite has been destroyed alike by India’s obstruction (1948-1964) and Pakistan’s aggression (1965). But the people of Kashmir cannot be robbed of their rights to self-determination by the sins of their neighbours. That right is a condition attached to the accession. It must be exercised realistically in the light of the situation in 2016. It rules out secession from the Union of India but mandates India, nonetheless, to respect that right. It cannot impose its will on the people by military might. Settle it must. Neither India nor Pakistan can impose a settlement on each other or on the people of Kashmir.

The Decision: The U.N. Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) exists in the subcontinent under a binding decision of the UNSC (paragraph 7 of Resolution CS/2017) of March 30, 1951. Rosalyn Higgins, later a judge of the International Court of Justice, holds that its “authority stemmed from Chapter VII rather than Chapter VI” ( United Nations Peace Keeping (1946-1967) Asia, page 350). Ajit Doval can churlishly ask the UNMOGIP to move from its bungalow at 1A, Purana Qila Road, New Delhi, 110 001. India cannot evict it from New Delhi or Srinagar without a resolution of the Security Council as the Secretary-General’s spokesman Martin Nesirky explained on January 23, 2013. It “can only be terminated by a decision of the Security Council”. India fears the consequences of moving the Security Council with such a request. It might open a can of worms.

To sum up, India cannot deny the existence of a dispute on Kashmir’s future with Pakistan or the need for such an accord with the consent of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Any settlement must reckon with three truths—India will not, cannot, accept Jammu and Kashmir’s secession. Pakistan cannot, will not, accept the Line of Control (LoC) as an international boundary; Kashmir cannot, will not, accept denial of self-rule or the partition of the people of the State. Most of “the U.N. Resolutions” are gone; the life which survives in two of them still binds the subcontinent.

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