UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China has postponed a discussion by the U.N. Security Council planned for Tuesday about the situation in the disputed Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir because the U.N. peacekeeping mission there was not ready to provide a brief, diplomats said.
The Himalayan region has long been a flashpoint in ties between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan, with both claiming Kashmir in full but ruling it in part. U.N. peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
China’s U.N. mission had on Monday requested the closed door briefing, after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote to the council to express concern about a possible further escalation of tensions.
Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council on Tuesday that he would again request the meeting when the peacekeeping mission was ready to give a detailed briefing.
“We all know the Security Council has received a letter from the foreign minister of Pakistan requesting Security Council discussions and discussions are going on,” Zhang later told reporters.
The council last met behind closed-doors in August on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a gathering that was also called by Pakistan ally China, after India removed the decades-old autonomy the area enjoyed under the Indian constitution.
For decades, India has battled insurgency in the portion it controls. It blames Pakistan for fuelling the strife, but Pakistan denies this, saying it gives only moral support to non-violent separatists.
“The situation presents a present danger to peace and security in our region,” Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram said on Tuesday. “We welcome the fact that the council remains seized of the matter.”
The Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly Muslim Kashmir.
Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jane Wardell