The G20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union. It is a platform where the principal economies of the world came together to try and find a common ground in an increasingly divergent world. It is one of the most significant and strategic multilateral platforms of this age as its members collectively constitute over 85 per cent of the global GDP, 75 per cent of global trade.
On 1st December, 2022 India assumed the presidency of the G20 forum to host the summit in 2023. India released a full calendar of events leading up to the summit, which included G20 and Youth 20 meetings in Srinagar and Leh. This is for the first time that an international event is being hosted in the region after the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Once again India has demonstrated that it is unable to act as a responsible member of the international community.
The main objective of India to host the meeting in the disputed territory is to signal that Jammu and Kashmir is stable, peaceful, and ready to engage with the world after the 5th august 2019. The India’s decision to host G20 meeting in disputed territory is also disregard to the UN Security Council resolutions and the violation of the principles of the UN Charter and international law.
After the revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and with the implementation of reorganization act 2019, India bifurcate the state into two union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh marked with several unconstitutional moves like demographic transformation of the state and the changes in land ownership and residency status of Jammu and Kashmir. All the developments that took place in Jammu and Kashmir since 5th august 2019 is done under the shadow of armed forces. Now the government of India is going to host a G20 meeting in internationally recognized disputed territory to project an image of normalcy.
Instead of peaceful settlement of the dispute, India is continuously using hard power tactics against the resistance movement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and are worsening the situation in the region. Indian authorities has drastically intensified repression in the Jammu and Kashmir and are using unlawful measures and unjust barriers impeding various rights in the region. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are constantly living in a fear under the shadow of armed forces. The resistance leadership have been marginalized and people are not allowed to act freely. Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was once aligned with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, stated that Indian authorities are arresting young residents and harassing them ahead of the G-20 meeting.
The consent of the G20 members to attend the meeting in disputed territory will not restore peace and stability in the region. It’s totally a bad gesture to the people of the disputed region who are demanding the implementation of the UN resolution and peaceful negotiation of the international community.
Instead of acting as arbitrators between the two rivalries, the world powers are continuously neglecting the dispute. Unfortunately the world powers who are advocates of world peace choose to stay silent on India’s decision to host meeting in Jammu and Kashmir. The G20 nations should have understood that the disputed territory is declared as most militarized zone in the world and is extremely unstable and subject of fierce conflict. Three nuclear capable countries of south Asia are confronting each other over this dispute. The negligence of world powers towards the disputed territory and the approval to attend the meeting in disputed territory would demonstrate as a catalyst in the conflict.
Foreign ministry of Pakistan condemned the India’s move to host meeting in disputed territory and stated that such events cannot hide the reality and change the status of Jammu and Kashmir. It’s an internationally recognized dispute that has remained on the agenda of United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.
China, too, has expressed serious concern towards the India’s decision to host meeting in the disputed region. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said parties must refrain from such type of activities that may complicate the situation and should made serious efforts to settle the dispute through dialogue and consultation to maintain peace and stability in the region.
India didn’t keep any stone unturned to defame the indigenous movement of Kashmiri people and pro-resolution leadership on international forums. India has always suppressed and oppressed them. Rule of law, justice, liberty, equality and religious freedom are not found anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have vehemently condemned the India’s irresponsible move and have also expressed strong indignation over the silence of international community. Its fact the inattention of world community have disappointed the Kashmiri people especially youth but they are honest with the pro-resolution movement without any fear and terror of Indian brutalities and repressive laws. Kashmiri people believe in peaceful struggle and know how to raise their voice peacefully and how to make their voice loud and clear for international community. However, if the meeting in Jammu and Kashmir goes smoothly, it would have little practical significance, as it doesn’t mean anything for the legal standing of Jammu and Kashmir vis-a-vis international law and instruments relating to it.
Nayeem Maqbool is Political analyst & PhD Scholar of International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad. He is working on conflicts in South Asia with special focus on Jammu & Kashmir.