New York, September 27: All eyes will be on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) where India and Pakistan will take the stage, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlining the country’s larger role on the world stage and what it was doing for development, peace and security, while his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan will solely focus on Kashmir.
Modi’s address at the 74th session of the UNGA on Friday will take place at around 7.30 pm India time.He will be among the first few speakers, and Khan is slated to address the world body after him.
India has made it clear that it will not mention Kashmir at all during the time allotted to speak at the global forum as revocation of the Article 370 was an entirely “internal issue”.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin has said that India will “soar high if Pakistan stoops low” by raking up the Kashmir issue at the UNGA.
In his departure statement, Modi said: “There are many pressing challenges for the international community – a still fragile global economy, turbulence and tension in many parts of the world, growth and spread of terrorism, climate change and the endemic global challenge of poverty.
“They require stronger global commitment and concerted multilateral action. I will reiterate our commitment to reformed multilateralism, which is responsive, effective and inclusive, and in which India plays her due role.” Pakistan has been raising the pitch aggressively on the Kashmir issue, and even got Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to speak on Kashmir. With Khan alleging that India was out to change the demography of Kashmir into a Hindu-majority one from the present Muslim majority state, under what he calls as the “Hindu fascist and supremacist” government of Modi, he appears to have got Turkey’s ear.
Erdogan has obviously bought Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir, without bothering to speak to India on it. On Wednesday, Erdogan told the UNGA that despite the UN resolutions “eight million people are stuck” in Kashmir.
Erdogan said that the 72-year-old Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue on the basis of justice and equity.
The Turkish president also co-hosted a roundtable on hate speech with Khan on the sidelines of the UNGA and in his address cited incidents in India where Muslims had been “lynched for eating beef”.
The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC)’s Contact Group on Kashmir has also asked India to reverse its revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir and allow access to international bodies, including OIC and UN, to independently investigate reports of “gross and systematic human rights violations taking place there”.
India has been pursuing an active diplomatic outreach, both before the UNGA and also during the ongoing session, to present its case before the world community, the reasons for revocation of special status, its plans for bringing development to Kashmir and Pakistan’s role in actively stymieing any development through fostering terrorism across the border.
US President Donald Trump, though he has several times suggested mediation on Kashmir, kept away from mentioning the issue in his speech, and has voiced confidence in Modi tackling cross-border terror.
He has also “encouraged” Modi to improve relations with Islamabad and “fulfil his promises” to better the lives of the Kashmiri people, according to a readout of their bilateral meeting.
Khan has been raising the spectre of a massacre in Jammu and Kashmir once the curfew is lifted, in his meetings with the Human Rights Watch and the editorial staff of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and his interview to CNBC.
While Modi will not talk about Kashmir, a junior Indian diplomat is expected to counter Khan’s statement at the UNGA in the right to reply.
Light snowfall in many parts of Kashmir, min temp rises
Many parts of Kashmir received fresh light snowfall on Saturday, leading to an increase in the minimum temperature which brought some relief to the people from the intense cold conditions, the meteorological department said.
A MeT official said the weather would remain generally cloudy in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh Union territories on Saturday with chances of light rain or snow.
“Light snowfall of two to five inches occurred at many places of Kashmir, hilly areas of Jammu and on the higher reaches of Ladakh,” he said.
The official said the weather would remain generally cloudy in both the Union territories on Saturday.
“A spell of widespread light to moderate snowfall is likely to occur during January 6 to 7 evening,” he said.
The official said the fresh snowfall brought some relief to the residents in the Valley from the intense cold conditions as the night temperature showed improvement.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 0.1 degree Celsius Friday night over three degrees up from minus 3.7 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius two degrees up from the previous night.
The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius over seven degrees up from minus 10.0 degrees Celsius Thursday night, he said.
The official said Qazigund the gateway town to the valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius up over six degrees from the previous night’s minus 7.0 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 2.1 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum temperature at 0.8 degree Celsius, the official said.
The mercury in Leh in Ladakh settled at a low of minus 18.3 degrees Celsius, he said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and minimum temperatures drop considerably.
‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and it will end on January 31. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
Militants hurl grenade at CRPF personnel in Srinagar
Suspected militants hurled a grenade at Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Kawdara locality in Srinagar on Saturday, resulting in damage to several vehicles, police said.
However, there was no immediate report of any casualty or injury, they said.
A grenade was hurled by militants to target the CRPF personnel posted in Kawdara locality of the interior area of the city in the afternoon, police said.
The area was cordoned off immediately after the explosion and further details are awaited.
I-League: Chennai City goes down to Real Kashmir
Real Kashmir downed the reigning champion Chennai City FC 2-1 at the TRC Turf Ground on Thursday. The match was the first big sporting event in the valley since it became a union territory.
Danish Farooq Bhat opened the scoring for Real Kashmir in the 22nd minute before Bazie Armand doubled the lead lie minutes later.
Syed Suhail Pasha’s second half goal halved the deficit for Chennai City but Real Kashmir held on to its lead for its first win of the season. The three points lifted the home side above the visitor into seventh place.
Chennai City hasn’t made a convincing defence of its crown having picked up just five points in as many games.
There were security concerns in the lead up to the game due to the abrogation of Article 370 and the ensuing lockdown in the valley.
The match wasn’t telecast on the official broadcaster DSport. “Due to the ongoing internet connectivity issues in the Kashmir region, today’s match between @ChennaiCityFC & @realkashmirfc will not be telecasted on DSPORT,” DSport posted on its official Twitter page.