UN Chief raises concern on upsurging violence in Kashmir

UN Secretary General Ban voices his concern over increasing violence in Kashmir region alongside disputed India-Pakistan border, urging both governments to de-escalate decades-old conflict that nourishes antagonism between Islamabad and New Delhi

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-moon addressed the issues surrounding the disputed Indo-Pakistani border in Kashmir region where intensified firing caused the deaths of at least eight people and wounded 14 others at the weekend.

"[Ban] expresses serious concern about the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, which reportedly resulted in a number of casualties on both sides, including civilians," the UN press office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ban called both Indian and Pakistani authorities for the de-escalation of the border dispute and the increasing conflicts around Kashmir, a huge region that was divided between formerly unified countries.

The statement added that the UN chief "calls upon the governments of India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians."

The relations between India and Pakistan have developed through the aforementioned border problems since the partition of British India in 1947 when Muslims and Hindus agreed to declare their own independent states.

Since then the Kashmir issue has increased the tension between Islamabad and New Delhi which contested their own sovereign rights and fought three wars over the divided Kashmir region consecutively in 1947, 1965 and 1999.

Kashmiri resistance groups in the Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or reunification with neighbouring Pakistan since 1989.

India deploys over half a million soldiers to the Indian-held Kashmir in order to prevent nationalist uprising and Pakistan’s meddling of the region through the militant insurgency.

The parties continue the peace process considering the border problems and the Kashmir issue for a long time, but the talks were frequently interrupted due to the lack of a common understanding and sporadic cross-border terror attacks in both sides of the disputed borders.

The Kashmir problem has frequently sparked an outcry in nationalist Indian public and media which have long been blaming Pakistan for allowing cross-border militants to infiltrate into Kashmir and causing terror attacks on Indian targets.

India’s impeachments of Pakistan over its alleged support for militancy reached at its peak when an Islamabad court released Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Pakistani national, who was convicted as the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attack that killed more than 200 people in India.  

The attacks had hit India's financial capital and seriously strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours which had already been at odds due to the decades-old Kashmir problem.

As India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known as a right-wing devoted nationalist, was chosen last year, the border issues came to fore again since he pledged a re-assertive security and foreign policy in Asia.     

In this sense, India’s porous borders with both Pakistan and China create an overwhelming border security deficit on the mountainous Himalayan region which also caused military conflicts with China.

China and India fought a brief but bloody war in 1962 over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas where the Tibetan separatists have been aiming to cross-border attack on Chinese targets.

Since the 1962 Sino-Indian War erupted due to the Tibet problem as well as border security, China has become Pakistan’s cordial ally, a relation was once labeled as “time-tested friendship” by both Chinese and Pakistani leadership.

Both countries use drones to check the disputed borders and militants’ cross-border moves from air, but the issue raises concern since it has been using for spying and proxy war against each others.  

Indian and Pakistani security officials are scheduled to meet on Aug. 23-24 in order to discuss the alarming violence in the border for which Ban also expressed his pleasure and urged the parties for a diplomatic dialogue.  



TRTWorld, Reuters