India has previously protested when the UN Human Rights Commissioner had used the term.
New Delhi: After criticism from the opposition, India on Thursday claimed that US State Department’s use of the term ‘Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir’ in context of listing Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) was affirmation of his involvement in “cross-border terrorism”.
Just before the face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon in Washington, the State Department released a media note on Salahuddin’s entry into the SDGN list. This was immediately welcomed by the government.
But the last line in the second paragraph of the note was immediately seized on by the Congress, which read as: “Under Salahuddin’s tenure as senior HM leader, HM has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people”.
The Congress criticised the government for failing to protest the term, describing it as a “total compromise with India’s national security and sovereignty”.
Two days later, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said that the term’s usage showed that Salahuddin was targeting India.
“The use of the term ‘Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir’ merely affirms our position that Syed Salahuddin has been involved in cross-border terrorism against India,” said Baglay.
He pointed out that the US had used the term previously in the annual country reports on terrorism, including in the 2010-2013 period “in the context of cross-border terrorism perpetrated on India”. “India’s consistent position that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India is well known,” asserted Baglay.
He reiterated India’s appreciation of the US administration’s designation of Salahuddin, adding that “this long-awaited step had been under discussion”.
Baglay noted that the latest India-US joint statement “is the strongest joint expression of the commitment of the two sides to be shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against terrorism and calls on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries”.
Incidentally, while India has argued that the US’s usage of “Indian administered Kashmir” was not surprising, it has vociferously protested on UN platforms when the phrase was employed.
Last year, India had protested twice at the Human Rights Council over UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s usage of the term Indian-administered Kashmir.
In the first half of 2016, Al Hussein had complained that India was not providing access to a UNHRC team to visit Indian territory to assess the situation in Kashmir
During the general debate on March 9, India’s permanent representative to UN in Geneva, Ajit Kumar, objected to the term as part of the statement. “The whole State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. The two cannot and should not be equated. The neutrality of the phrase “Indian Administered Kashmir” is, therefore, artificial. Furthermore, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has an elected democratic government that represents all sections of the people unlike the situation in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir,” he said.
Seven months later, the UN human rights commissioner again raised the issue of Kashmir in his opening statement at the start of 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. “Two months ago, I requested the agreement of the Governments of India and Pakistan to invite teams from my Office to visit both sides of the line of control: in other words the India-Administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir,” Al Hussein said on September 13.
A day later on September 14, Kumar again repeated India’s protest that the use of the term of “Indian administered Kashmir” is artificially neutral as Jammu and Kashmir has elected a democratic government unlike Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.