Pakistan’s international efforts fail – EU supports India on Human Rights issue in J&K

Highlights
  • This stand marks a change from traditional EU position of moralizing to India on human rights issues
  • In the past, India has felt EU has taken Pakistan’s side on this issue

Human rights ‘breaches’ in Jammu & Kashmir should be settled through domestic Indian institutions, said David McAllister, who is leading a delegation of MEPs from European parliament’s powerful foreign affairs committee. “We understand this is a sensitive issue,” he said, marking a significant change from traditional EU position of moralizing to India on human rights issues.

McAllister leads a group of four MEPs to India where they met union ministers, national security adviser Ajit Doval, vice chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Panagariya and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan among others. This is the second among three successive groups from the EU to engage with India in preparation for the next EU-India summit expected to be held later this year in New Delhi. The committee is charged with bringing out a report on EU-India relations which will cover everything from defense and security to human rights in time for the summit.

The group consisting of Zeljana Zovko (Croatia), Cristian Dan Preda (Romania), David McAllister (Germany) and Urmas Paet (Estonia) had initially included Amjad Bashir, Pakistan-origin British MEP from Yorkshire, and a well-known critic of India. However, while four of the EU delegation arrived in New Delhi, Bashir was reportedly denied a visa by the Indian government. Speaking to Pakistani media, Bashir said “I alone find myself still without the necessary piece of paper. Our political group has taken the matter up with the parliament’s authorities. … There has not been a word of official explanation from the Indian authorities, but through unofficial channels I have been told it is because of my stance on Kashmir..”

EU’s decision to come without Bashir, and to take a more “understanding view of J&K could impact positively EU-India relations. In the past, India has felt EU has taken Pakistan’s side on this issue. For the past year, Pakistan has embarked on a diplomatic offensive to rally world opinion against India on J&K.

However, India’s decision to cancel licences of over 10,000 NGOs elicited a sharp response from the team. While admitting that it was India’s sovereign decision, Cristian dan Preda said some European countries give money to NGOs to promote human rights. “We don’t understand why governments in some countries want to block activities of organisations involved in human rights, particularly women and children’s rights.”

McAllister said they would urge faster completion of free trade talks between EU and India. A high level group from India would visit EU soon on immigration issues, as the EU delegation emphasised they were open for skilled professionals from India.

They were clear, however, that while respecting India-Russia relations, they described Russia in the darkest terms, accusing it of trying to destabilize Europe. “Sanctions by EU and US a direct response to aggression by Russia in Ukraine. We will not accept the biggest violation of international law since 1945, when for the first time borders have been redrawn. This is unacceptable, and we will not accept Russian annexation of Crimea. This precedent should be an alarming signal for all international community, for all countries who want to play a greater international role. India understands well how important international legal order and territorial sovereignty is” alluding to India’s refusal to criticize Russia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:- TNN

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