Friday 30 October 2020

NSA Doval walks out of SCO meet after Pakistan claims Kashmir to be its territory

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India today walked out of a meeting of the national security advisers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in protest after the Pakistani representative used a “fictitious” map to show Indian territories as part of Pakistan. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval walked out of the Russia-chaired meeting in protest.

“This was in blatant disregard to the advisory by the host against it and in violation of the norms of the meeting. After consultation with the host, the Indian side left the meeting in protest at that juncture,” said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, following the walkout by NSA Doval.

“As was to be expected, Pakistan then went on to present a misleading view of this meeting,” said Srivastava, answering a question on how NSA Doval reacted to the map.

Government sources said the Pakistani action was “blatant violation” of the SCO charter. It was against all its established norms of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SCO member states, the sources said.

The sources said that India issued a strong objection. The Russian side tried hard to persuade Pakistan not to use the map, they added.

Secretary of the National Security Council of Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev said Moscow did not approve of Pakistan’s deed. Patrushev said, however, the “provocative act” would not affect India’s participation in the SCO.

On 4 August, the eve of the anniversary of the virtual abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan last month had issued a new map showing all of Kashmir as part of its territory. The map included not just parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh but also Junagarh in Gujarat.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had released that map during a meeting in Islamabad that his cabinet and senior officials attended, including his special assistant on national security affairs, Moeed Yusuf. Khan had said the map was the first step towards a political struggle to achieve the right of self-determination for Kashmiris.

Pakistan does not have a formally appointed NSA as of now. Yusuf represents the country at meetings such as the one held today.

Before the external affairs ministry spokesperson’s statement, Yusuf tweeted: “Bizarrely, my Indian counterpart chose to walk out of Pakistan and Russia’s speech. Left a bad taste at a forum whose whole spirit is cooperation.”

Yusuf also tweeted he had “highlighted that unilateral & illegal actions in an internationally recognised disputed territory of [Jammu and Kashmir] is (sic) a threat to regional peace & prosperity”.

India dismissed the new map as “an exercise in political absurdity”. It accused Pakistan of laying untenable claims to territories in Gujarat and the union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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