The Group of Twenty (G20) was established in 1999 in the post-Asian financial crisis era. The main objective of the G20 was to discuss the global economic and financial issues by Ministers and Governors of Central banks.
On December 1, 2022, India assumed the G20 presidency from Indonesia and organized the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in the country from 9 to 10 September 2023. This year’s G20 theme was “One Earth, One Family, and One Future.” Under this theme, India affirms the “value of humans, plants, animal, and microorganisms and their interconnectedness on planet earth and in the wider universe.” Ironically, India has committed human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) and against its minorities such as Muslims, Christians, and Dalits. The recent killings and unrest in Manipur and the earlier abrogation of articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution regarding IIOJ&K are evident examples of violations of basic rights against the Indian populace by the Indian government.
The Kashmir dispute is one of the most significant unresolved international issues today. Based on the will of the people of Kashmir to be part of Pakistan, the latter considers Kashmir its integral part. It is a core dispute with India. Due to its disputed status, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) provides the special status of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris under its resolution 47. However, India abrogated articles 370 and 35A in 2019, clearly showing Indian malintent regarding dispute resolution. Article 370 is a ‘temporary provision’ that grants the state of Jammu and Kashmir a special autonomous status within the Indian Union. Article 35A empowered the J&K state’s legislature to define ‘permanent residents’ of the states and provide special rights to the residents.
The selection of IIOJ&K for the G20 tourism meet violates international law and norms since the UN declared disputed territory.
The selection of Leh by India for Youth 20 (Y20), held in Ladakh from 26th to 28th April 2023, is a similar case that can escalate India-China tensions as Beijing considers Leh part of Tibet.
India is violating international law and norms by arranging international events in disputed regions. It is undermining the broader international system’s principles and stability, such as the UN charter, which underlines the resolution of disputes by peaceful means and the respect of state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Secondly, India is neglecting the negotiation process with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, which may hamper efforts to accomplish peaceful settlements and escalate regional tensions.
Thirdly, India has been violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan considers Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part and seeks the resolution of the disputes as per the will of Kashmiris and according to the UN resolution. However, such violations by India infringe on the rights of Kashmiris and Pakistan’s policy, aggravating conflicts and hampering diplomatic efforts to find reciprocally acceptable resolutions to the dispute.
Fourthly, India is marginalizing the people of Kashmir by imposing itself through such events. Concerns about the well-being and rights of the local population are on a constant rise, including native communities or internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Fifth, any hegemonic design strains the bilateral relations between the two nuclear powers, Pakatan and India. It can also affect the relations of other countries with India.
India’s policy of selecting the disputed venues for the international summit will only escalate regional tensions.
This also transmits intrinsic political implications and can be seen as a confrontational move by the hosting country. It is in the collective global interest to take notice of Indian violations and stop the latter in the future.
Given the strong link of such Indian attempts with its national security, Pakatan took a serious note, convincing several prudent members of the international community to boycott the event. China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Oman have not attended the event in IIOJ&K and have expressed concerns regarding the possible consequences for regional peace and stability and the need to uphold the principles of neutrality and impartiality. Furthermore, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have not attended the G20 Leaders’ Summit in India on September 9 and 10, 2023.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) termed the G20 tourism meeting in Srinagar and Youth 20 in Leh “equally disconcerting.” The FO further said, “India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in sheer disregard of the UN Security Council resolutions and violations of the principles of the UN Charter and international law.” United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority issues, Fernand de Verrines, reminded the world that India was seeking to normalize the “brutal and repressive denial of democratic and other rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities.”
By linking G20 – an important multilateral economic forum – with its interest and pursuit of regional power, India has just created doubts about the credibility of its role and its credentials for promoting cooperative initiatives.
The author is Associate Director of Research at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Islamabad.