Kashmir battle heads to the Alps.
The government has sent a team led by senior diplomat Ajay Bisaria to Geneva to boost the Indian presence at the UN Human Rights Council to fend off yet another Pakistani attempt against the Indian decisions on Kashmir. Pakistan is rolling out its own big guns - former foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who will address the 42nd session of the human rights body.
Meanwhile, foreign minister S Jaishankar said in an interview in Brussels that restrictions in J&K would be eased in the coming days. He also
rebuffed suggestions of dialogue, saying that at present, the idea wouldn't fly since Pakistan "openly practices terror".
After being rebuffed at the UN Security Council on August 16, Pakistan, sources said, is hammering away on India's alleged human rights violations and the threat of a nuclear exchange. Pakistan pitched for a special session on Kashmir at HRC, but failed to get the 16 votes necessary for such a session
. That leaves it with two options - a special discussion on Kashmir, or to move a resolution against India.
The HRC session will run from September 9-27, and promises a lot of action on the India-Pakistan front. Pakistan has until September 19 to give notice for a resolution. On Monday, the EU parliament is slated to have a discussion on Kashmir.
India has ramped up its own diplomacy, though Jaishankar is unlikely to follow his Pakistani counterpart's example. However, India has reached out to key members of the HRC in recent weeks - PM Modi held talks with the King and PM of Bahrain 9/1/2019 Kashmir battle heads to the Alps - Times of India (currently a UNHRC member) where this issue would have been raised. On the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, he met UK PM Boris Johnson as well as other leaders who are currently members of the HRC, like Japan, Chile, and Senegal.
Jaishankar has reached out to a number of Council members, starting with Nepal and Bangladesh in India's neighbourhood. In the past week, he also reached out to the Visegrad countries, during his visit to Hungary and Poland. Three out of the Visegrad Four - Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - are in the Council this year.
In Brussels, along with bilateral relations, Jaishankar did his own diplomatic outreach on Kashmir, both with the European Council and the Commission.
At the UNHRC, India's effort will be to point out Pakistan's own human rights violations in PoK, particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan. India will focus on cross-border terror, and defend the current curbs in the Valley as being against terror attacks. The past couple of days, India has also piled human rights pressure on Pakistan, with increasing reports of Sikh girls being forcibly converted to Islam. Indian diplomats will also reach out to the special rapporteurs in the Council who helm committees and report on an array of related subjects .
Meanwhile, Pakistan's foreign minister, in a letter to UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet, asked her to demand that India "rescind its unilateral actions, lift the curfew and other draconian measures, and restore fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people". Batelet has presided over two reports critical of India in the recent past.