Russia, a member of the UN Security Council, has come out in support of New Delhi’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir.
In its statement issued on Friday, the Russian foreign ministry hoped India and Pakistan would resolve their differences by political and diplomatic means on a bilateral basis in accordance with the provisions of the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration.
The statement said, “Moscow expects that India and Pakistan will not allow aggravation of the situation in the region due to the change by Delhi in the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“We proceed from the fact that the changes associated with the change in the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two union territories have been carried out within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India. We hope that the parties involved will not allow a new aggravation of the situation in the region as a result of the decisions,” it added.
Russia’s move is seen as a boost for India, which has mounted an all-out offensive to counter Pakistan’s propaganda against the change in the status of J & K. Even during the Cold War period, Moscow, which was part of the Soviet Union, used to bail out India on J & K whenever it came up at international forums, including the UNSC.
Indian officials observed that the statement by Moscow might influence other members of the UNSC, including those in the non-permanent category, not to fall prey to Pakistan’s narrative on the revocation of Article 370 in J & K. India has already briefed almost all countries on the circumstances necessitating changing the status of J & K, while making it clear that it was essentially an internal matter of this country.
Pakistan has so far not succeeded in securing anyone’s support on the J & K issue despite writing letters to the UNSC and the UN General Assembly.
India will get an opportunity to brief Washington on the issue when US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan visits New Delhi next week. He will also hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Meanwhile, Jaishankar will also be travelling to Beijing next week to co-chair a meeting of the India-China high-level mechanism on cultural exchanges and people to people contacts. The J & K issue is bound to come up during his talks with Chinese leaders since the visit will take place close on the heels of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s trip to Beijing to seek China’s support.
However, China has said that it regarded both India and Pakistan as ‘friendly neighbours’ and would want them to resolve the issue under UN resolutions and the Shimla Agreement.