New Delhi: Turkey has said that it is “deeply concerned” about the security and humanitarian situation in the “disputed” region of Jammu & Kashmir and believes India and Pakistan must resume their dialogue based on UN Security Council resolutions.
Speaking at a ministerial level contact group, of the Islamic Conference (OIC), on Jammu and Kashmir, held at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on 29 May, outgoing chair and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the rhetoric on Jammu and Kashmir in a meeting of members such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Niger and Azerbaijan
He later tweeted that Turkey hoped the Kashmir issue would be resolved through peaceful means.
Deeply concerned with the security and humanitarian situation in Jammu&Kashmir. #Turkey sincerely desires that #Kashmir issue is resolved through peaceful means betw. #India& #Pakistan based on relevant @UN resolutions&in line w/aspirations of the people of Kashmir. @OIC_OCI pic.twitter.com/Ca7qJS2vNe
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) May 29, 2019
A day later, in the holy city of Mecca, OIC secretary-general Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen called for the resumption of “genuine dialogue” between India and Pakistan “which will be the best framework for addressing all outstanding issues, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.
He described the protests taking place in the Kashmir Valley as a “legitimate struggle” by Kashmiris, which he said was in “full conformity with UN resolutions and international law”.
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India’s ties with OIC
India has routinely ignored the OIC’s tough talk on alleged human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir because it believes that it doesn’t provide a level playing field to Indian representatives to rebut issues.
But the fact remains that former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj did attend as the guest of honour, an OIC foreign ministers meet in Abu Dhabi on 1 March, soon after the Indian Air Force (IAF) hit terror camps deep inside Pakistan in Balakot.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotted the OIC address as a result, a gesture believed to have not gone down well with the 47-member Islamic group.
Turkey comes to Pak’s aid
Turkey has, however, once again come to the aid of Pakistan with its latest harsh language regarding the situation in the Valley.
The Turkey-Pakistan relationship is an old one and Pakistani generals, notably former President Pervez Musharraf, have often modelled themselves on Turkey’s army that has largely prevented political parties from functioning freely in the country.
Turkey will hand over the presidency of the OIC to Saudi Arabia for three years, when the India-Saudi relationship will be tested, certainly on this score.
With none other than the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tweeting his congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his second coming, the question is if Riyadh will henceforth moderate its position on Jammu & Kashmir.
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A thoughtful response is required. That may include both the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan and the start of a purposive political conversation with all stakeholders in the Kashmir valley. As EAM, Dr Jaishankar brings his formidable intellect and a lifetime of experience of diplomacy to bear on problems that have defied solution / resolution for decades. He can contribute more to policy formation than a serving diplomat, even the FS, could have. May his tenure be defined by lasting contributions to furthering India’s national Interest.
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