India, which holds the presidency of the G20 for 2023, has announced that it will be holding the G20 summit/sessions/tracks in what is widely acknowledged as the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir Region (IIOJ&KR). The UNSC Resolutions on this internationally recognised disputed territory however remain relevant and applicable, regardless.
The fiercely contentious Kashmir issue, despite Indian efforts to the contrary, is thus bound to hog intense global attention again.
The G20, established in 1999, is an intergovernmental forum comprising nineteen countries and the EU. It addresses major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. It is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important issues of the global economy and financial agenda. The objectives of the G20 refer to the policy coordination between its members; one, to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth; two, to promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises and three, to modernise financial architecture. The potent G20 accounts for 80-90 percent of the gross world product, 75 percent of international trade, 66 percent of the global population, and 60 percent of the world’s land area and is responsible for 84 percent of all fossil fuel emissions in the world. It is not a permanent institution with HQs, offices, or staff. Instead, its leadership rotates on an annual basis among its members. Its decisions are made by consensus and the implementation depends upon the political will of the individual states. The Presidency leads a three-member management group of the previous, current and future chairs, referred to as the Troika. The purpose is to ensure transparency, fairness and continuity from one presidency to the other. The preparatory process for a G20 summit is carried out through established Sherpa and Financial tracks. The Sherpa track focuses on non-economic and financial issues and carries out important planning, negotiation and implementation tasks. The Financial track focuses on purely economic and financial issues. (Wikipedia).
By attempting to hold the G20 summit/sessions/tracks in IIOJ&KR, India is cunningly trying to kill many birds with one stone. The fascist, Hindutva-crazed BJP Government of PM Narinder Modi seems adamant about exploiting the G20 to achieve specific geopolitical and domestic political objectives during its Presidency. It apparently intends to thus serve as a fait accompli to the world at large, the UN/UNSC, G20, China, Pakistan and the Kashmiri Muslims. It is adopting an indirect approach to not only pronounce its sovereignty and suzerainty over the internationally recognised and UNSC-mandated disputed territory but by implication would also seek international acquiescence to all of its genocidal atrocities, vicious suppression of human rights and civil liberties and freedoms of the Kashmiri Muslims. Its abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which gave special rights to the Kashmiri Muslims, would by default stand justified and internationally accepted, too. By holding the G20 summit/sessions/tracks in IIOJ&KR, India will hope to (falsely) portray it as an integral part of the Indian Union.
If the G20 holds a summit/sessions/tracks in the IIOJ&KR it will be seen as an international stamp of approval that the IIOJ&KR is bona fide Indian territory. Most critically, by implication, the G20 will be viewed as giving credence to the Indian claims on Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan too. It would also imply that Pakistan’s claims on IIOJ&KR are no longer valid. That would be in direct violation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions, international conventions and bilateral agreements. If so, then the wily BJP government would have craftily maneuvered the G20 into becoming an unsuspecting(?) party to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and would have also placed it in the middle of the India-China conflict along the LAC in general and in Ladakh in particular.
Furthermore, there will be colossal geopolitical ramifications; internationally, regionally and bilaterally between India and Pakistan and India and China. The G20 must realise that the larger Kashmir region (including Ladakh) is a very volatile, hotly contested and the most militarised region in the world. Three of the world’s most significant military, nuclear and missile forces sit eyeball-to-eyeball with one another there. It is internationally recognised as the likeliest nuclear flashpoint in the world. The Pakistani, Indian and Chinese nations all have their own reasons to stake their claims and be politically and emotionally attached to them. IIOJ&KR by itself is a disturbed and unstable region where the pitilessly oppressed Kashmiri Muslims are agitating vigorously; freedom movements and anti-India and anti-occupation forces sentiments are widespread and rampant. The G20 must be extremely wary of any diplomatic faux pas that India or Indian machinations might induce it into. It will aggravate an already very tense, sensitive and explosive strategic environment.
If the G20 does venture into IIOJ&KR then Pakistan will view it as a biased, partisan, partial, and stridently pro-India act by it. Similarly, China will interpret it as the G20 taking sides in its long-standing border conflict with India along the LAC and in Ladakh in particular. That will have its own implications for the G20 as a forum itself. The Kashmiri Muslims will see it as the G20 ditching them, siding with the oppressor and condoning its diabolic, tyrannical, genocidal policies to deny them their inalienable human rights and civil and social liberties and freedoms. The G20 must be cognisant of Indian manoeuvrings to seek undue and unfair geopolitical advantages of its Presidency. It must adopt a prudent policy at the collective and individual country levels to strictly follow the formal objectives and agenda of the G20, stick to the path of justice, and fair play and do the right, sensible thing. It must stay away from the IIOJ&KR. It must avoid establishing unworthy, unfair precedents for other suppressed peoples and their oppressors in the world! The G20 must be collectively and individually cognisant of the serious ramifications of knowingly walking into such an obvious Indian trap. The G20’s own credibility, impartiality, fairness and adherence to international norms and covenants are at stake.
Pakistan must position itself well now to forestall the ill effects of such a demagogic undertaking by India!
(To be continued)