Stoking diplomatic deadwood in the hope that the embers may catch fire is a parlour game at the United Nations. One of our neighbours — Pakistan — has indulged in this for years. “The India-Pakistan Question”, inscribed on the United Nations Security Council (SC)’s agenda on January 6, 1948, was last considered by SC on November 5, 1965. Yet, on the annual requests of Pakistan, the item has remained an inert part of the Council’s formal agenda. These requests are followed by sundry communications, in a bid to stir the pot. They are circulated and filed. No one is bothered. Then, in August 2019, following changes to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s special status provided in the Indian Constitution, China weighed in favour of its “iron brother” and initiated what was akin to a diplomatic “two-front war”.
Using its perch on the Council, China took over the driver’s seat of this venture. Since China did not have the requisite majority to call for a formal meeting, it requested an informal consultation. China proposed a draft outcome statement and lobbied for support.