India asks China to avoid raising Kashmir dispute at UN

In a photo taken on Oct 4, 2019, people shout slogans against India revoking Muslim-majority Kashmir's semi-autonomous status during a protest on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir. PHOTO: AP

NEW DELHI (AP) - India on Thursday (Jan 16) asked China to avoid raising the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations Security Council, insisting that it is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

The government issued a statement on Thursday, a day after China requested a review by the UN Security Council of the UN observer mission in Kashmir.

"China should reflect on a global consensus on Kashmir and avoid raising it at the United Nations," India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Mr Raveesh Kumar, told reporters in New Delhi.

Most countries on the 15-member council have urged India and Pakistan to cool the dispute and resolve it between themselves.

But on Wednesday, China's UN ambassador warned against further escalation of strife between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region and expressed hope that a Security Council meeting called by Beijing might help both countries seek a solution through dialogue.

Mr Kumar said India has raised the matter with China in the past.

The latest flare-up in conflict was sparked by a decision by India's Hindu nationalist-led government to end the semi-autonomous status of Muslim-majority Kashmir on Aug 5.

A harsh crackdown ensued, with New Delhi sending tens of thousands more troops to the already heavily militarised region, imposing a sweeping curfew, arresting thousands and cutting off virtually all communications.

Authorities have since eased several restrictions, lifting roadblocks and restoring landlines and cellphone services, but Internet service is yet to be restored in the Kashmir valley.

Also on Thursday, India's External Affairs Ministry said India will invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the 19th council of heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which will be hosted by India later this year.

"As per the established practices and procedures within SCO, all eight members of SCO as well as four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited (by India)," the ministry said.

India and Pakistan both became full members of the SCO in June 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to promote multilateral economic cooperation.

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