G20 Summit: India’s Arrogance and International Response

G20 in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, 09 September 2023
Image Credits: Indian Press Information Burea/EPA-EFE

Through hosting the G20 summit in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India seeks to project a sense of normalcy following the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A.



India’s stance regarding the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) manifests its aggressive posturing and belief in its sovereign right to handle internal affairs without external interference showing complete disregard for international law, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and bilateral arrangements between India and Pakistan. The recent demeanor exhibited towards Pakistan by India’s Foreign Minister during the SCO Summit raises concerns about India’s approach to diplomacy, human rights, international law, and adherence to UNSC Resolutions. India’s decision to illegally occupy Kashmir and change its status without due consideration of its disputed nature is viewed and condemned by Pakistan as an unlawful and inappropriate act. As a part of its efforts to garner international recognition for its stance on Kashmir, India hosted the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting from May 22 to 24 at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar. This move may further entrench India’s narrative on Kashmir on an international platform that India aims at the moment. 


The recent demeanor exhibited towards Pakistan by India’s Foreign Minister during the SCO Summit  raises concerns about India’s approach to diplomacy, human rights, international law, and adherence to UNSC Resolutions.



Holding the G20 summit in IIOJK, India aims to assert that the post-revocation scenario of Articles 370 and 35A in IIOJK is characterized by normalcy, and the international community should acknowledge this controversial action. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gave Jammu and Kashmir a distinctive autonomous status. At the same time, Article 35A granted the state legislature the authority to define permanent residents and bestow specific rights and privileges upon them. Under the leadership of  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, India pursued a course of action that entailed extensive measures to alter the status of Kashmir.
Pakistan has persistently voiced its concerns on prominent international platforms like the United Nations (UN) following the revocation of Article 370, urging the global community and West to denounce this action. However, these appeals have failed to garner significant attention from the international community. On his visit to the Goa SCO summit, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister highlighted India’s illegal and unilateral decision to hold a meeting in the disputed territory. The present Indian government has adopted an assertive stance, displaying a perceived disregard for legal principles and human rights, as indicated by India’s Foreign Minister’s statement urging others to “wake up and smell the coffee,” asserting that Article 370 is now a historical matter.
The Unsettled Issue Between South Asian Rivals
The India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir dates back to the partition of British India in 1947. The Maharaja initially sought independence for Kashmir, but due to the outbreak of violence and unwanted pressure from India, he decided to accede to India in October 1947. Pakistan, disputing the legality of the accession, disapproved this act, which led to the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir.
The war ended in 1948 with a UN-brokered ceasefire and establishment of a Line of Control (LOC) that divided the region. The UNSC passed resolutions calling for a plebiscite to allow the people of Kashmir to determine their future. However, the plebiscite was never held due to disagreements between India and Pakistan over the preconditions for its implementation.
Since then, the issue of Kashmir has remained a focal point of tension between India and Pakistan. There have been three major wars between the two countries, in 1947-1948, 1965, and 1999, with each conflict centered on the disputed territory of Kashmir. Additionally, there have been numerous cross-border skirmishes, terrorist attacks, and diplomatic efforts to address the issue. India considers it an integral part of its territory, while Pakistan demands the implementation of UN resolutions and the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir. 



The hypocrisy of India can also be seen through its behavior when it expressed its desire to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), while on the other hand, it has violated all the UNSC Resolutions regarding the Kashmir dispute and aimed to unilaterally decide the Kashmir issue 


Democratic Downslide and Modi Regime
India has always presented itself as the world’s largest democracy and an emerging power; however, the treatment of the Indian government towards minorities, particularly Muslims, raises question about its democratic principles. BJP came into power in 2014, and before coming to power, their election manifesto revolved around an aggressive stance towards Pakistan, changing the status of Kashmir and making it an integral part of India. Narendra Modi became the PM of India in 2014, and since then, the relations between the two South Asian arch-rivals have deteriorated further. Modi’s regime revoked Articles 370 and 35A under the garb of changing the destiny of Kashmiris through development and economic growth. However, India has continuously chosen the path of human rights violations, abduction of political figures, introducing curfews to smash the voice of people, imposing lockdowns, killing innocent Kashmiris who raise their voices for freedom, and blocking the access of people to the internet and media to hide their violent conduct. India has shown its disrespect for democratic principles and human rights. It aims to become a regional hegemon without limitations in following laws and UN Resolutions. 
The hypocrisy of India can also be seen through its behavior when it expressed its desire to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), while on the other hand, it has violated all the UNSC Resolutions regarding the Kashmir dispute and aimed to unilaterally decide the Kashmir issue without giving due importance to 76 years of the long-standing dispute, without considering the conflicting party of dispute (Pakistan) and without holding itself accountable before any international legal framework. The Modi regime has been involved in false flag operations to attack Pakistan as a terrorist state, and the Foreign Minister of India went as far on the sidelines of the SCO Summit as to label the Foreign Minister of Pakistan as a “spokesperson of a terror industry.” India has failed to present itself as a mature and responsible actor in the regional and international politics and must be handled with iron hands. The narrative of Pakistan has been crystal clear that it cannot accept anything but the implementation of UNSC Resolution 47 on the Kashmir issue, which calls for a free and fair plebiscite. If India has been working for the progress and prosperity of Kashmir, and if only Pakistan is involved in sponsoring terrorism against India, then why is India so fearful of a fair plebiscite? Why are Kashmiris not given the right to decide whether to join India, Pakistan or remain independent? The way India has treated Kashmiris for the past 76 years makes it clear to India that after a plebiscite, Kashmiris will never opt to stay with India because they are not free individuals.
Moreover, how can India protect the rights of Kashmiris when even in India, they marginalize Muslims, denying them citizenship status? The Hindutva ideology and BJP in power make it clear that there will be no place for Muslims and other minorities in India under a fascist, extremist BJP regime. 


how can India protect the rights of Kashmiris when even in India, they marginalize Muslims, denying them citizenship status? The Hindutva ideology and BJP in power make it clear that there will be no place for Muslims and other minorities in India under a fascist, extremist BJP regime. 


The chair of Amnesty International reiterated, “Since 2019, the Indian authorities have imposed collective punishment measures against the Kashmiri population under the garb of ‘counter terrorism’ measures. However, the recent spate of targeting of civilians raises further questions about the government’s actions, including a heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful protests in the valley, including those recently held by Kashmiri pundits subjected to baton charges and tear gas shells. The relentless crackdown on politicians, journalists, and human rights activists, and even the closure of the state human rights commission, has further stifled independent voices and left the people of Kashmir without an appropriate remedy.”
India is no more a democracy, and the world should take notice of the G20 Tourism group meeting in Srinagar, the heart of Kashmir, which is a gross violation of international law and UNSC Resolutions, and hold India accountable.



International Responses to G20 Summit
Pakistan responded strongly to India’s announcement of hosting G20 meetings in IIOJK. Pakistan reached out to its friendly countries within the G20, seeking their support and dissuading New Delhi from organizing any group event or meeting in IIOJK. G20 grouping comprises significant world economies, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
China disapproved the Indian proposal to convene the G20 meeting in the region and boycotted the meeting. Through its spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, the Chinese government urged G20 member nations to prioritize economic recovery efforts and refrain from politicizing the matter at hand. Zhao emphasized that the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India should be appropriately addressed, considering the pertinent UN Resolutions and bilateral agreements. There were speculations regarding Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s boycott but Indonesia sent representatives from its mission in New Delhi and Saudi Arabia and Turkey have sent trade and travel delegations to attend the meeting although both states didn’t register for it and refrained from sending the officials. Egypt was a special invitee this year, but no one represented Egypt and Oman in the G20 meeting. And Pakistan appreciated these states through a statement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reiterating, “We greatly appreciate the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Turkiye, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Sultanate of Oman for not attending the Srinagar meeting. These countries have stood for international law and for the primacy of the UN Charter”. 
The Kashmiri populace residing on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) has expressed their rejection of the G20 summit held in the disputed territory of IIOJK. Consequently, several protest demonstrations, sit-ins, and rallies persisted in various regions of AJK. A protest rally led by Pasban-e-Hurriyat AJK took place in Rawalakot. Participants of the rally marched towards Kachehri Chowk while prominently displaying black flags, placards, and banners, all of which denounced the Machiavellian intentions of the Modi regime in organizing G20 meetings in Srinagar. Chairman of Pasban-e-Hurriyat, Uzair Ahmed Ghazali, and other speakers emphasized that India seeks to exploit the international platform for its political and military objectives by hosting the G20 summit within the disputed territory.
Fernand de Varennes, the UN special rapporteur on minority issues has also given statement regarding the G20 summit. The statement ahead of the G20 meeting highlighted several important points. Firstly, it emphasized that human rights violations in IIOJK have significantly increased since 2019 following the government’s revocation of the region’s special status. Secondly, the UN Independent Expert cautioned against the Government of India’s attempts to normalize the situation by hosting a G20 meeting on tourism, presenting it as international approval, despite concerns expressed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).
Furthermore, the statement addressed the violations occurring in Kashmir, including torture, extrajudicial killings, the denial of political participation rights for Kashmiri Muslims and minorities, and the suspension of democratic rights and local elections. It also raised concerns about the loss of political autonomy and the implementation of new legislation, such as the domicile rules, which could alter Jammu and Kashmir’s demographic composition, leading to political disenfranchisement and reduced political participation and representation. Moreover, as per the UN Human Rights mission statement, reports indicate a significant influx of Hindus from outside the region into Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in dramatic demographic changes that disproportionately affect the native Kashmiris. 
Fernand de Varennes criticized the G20 for providing a semblance of support for a superficial facade of normalcy while human rights violations, arrests, political persecutions, and restrictions continue to escalate. The statement underscores the importance of upholding international human rights obligations and the UN Declaration of Human Rights by organizations like the G20. It called for condemning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir rather than its dismissal or disregard.
It is high time that the international community must raise its concern regarding the illegal unilateral moves of India on Kashmir, which has been territory for the last 76 years. All the efforts to resolve the dispute through bilateral dialogue, third-party mediation, and Track II diplomacy have not yielded a lasting solution. Now India has moved on to decide the fate of Kashmir, which will generate further conflict and instability between the two nuclear rivals. The dispute continues to impact regional stability and has profoundly affected the lives of the people in the region; therefore, it needs a lasting solution as per the UNSC Resolutions of a free and fair plebiscite and self-determination principle.


The author is an Associate Research Officer at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
E-mail: tayaba.khan127@gmail.com

Courtesy

Website | + posts

A scholar specializing in diplomacy, and international relations 

Tayyaba Khurshid

A scholar specializing in diplomacy, and international relations 

Leave a Reply