UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council will meet at China's request on Tuesday (Dec 17) to discuss the situation in the disputed Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir, diplomats said.
The council will meet behind closed doors for the first time since a similar gathering in August, which was also called by Pakistan ally China, after India removed the decades-old autonomy the area enjoyed under the Indian constitution.
In a letter to the Security Council on Dec 12, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed concern about a possible further escalation of tensions.
"In view of the seriousness of the situation and the risk of further escalation, China would like to echo the request of Pakistan, and request a briefing of the Council ... on the situation of Jammu and Kashmir," China's UN mission wrote in a note to council members, seen by Reuters.
Diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the meeting was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
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. UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
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 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."