Mountbatten, Britain, United Nations internationalized the Issue of Kashmir



Ambassador Dore Gold is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was the eleventh Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (1997-1999). Previously he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu , Excerpts from his latest book , where he charged UN for internationalizing KASHMIR ISSUE  And loop hole of Article 2 of UN Charter.


The UN crated a kind of false symmetry between the fundamental grievances of each side and placed them on the same moral plane. Indian government ultimately rejected the UN’s latest intervention, arguing that resolution 726 made India look a “co-accused” with Pakistan.
India had brought what it felt was a clear-cut case of aggression to the UN and come up empty-handed, with the UN’s only response being to form a committee. This was hardly the decisive action Lord Mountbatten had promised.

The British, as well as the Americans, who followed their lead, had greater interests in Pakistan, which was immediately contiguous to the Eurasian landmasses, and could provide strategic bases to the West in the emerging Cold War. These military interests, and not any abstract principles about aggression, would determine their approach to the Indian complaint at the UN.


Tower of Babble
The moral clarity of the 1945 UN was becoming obfuscated; standards for distinguishing right from wrong could not be so easily applied in the new political universe that was forming, in which aggression could be excused and morality judged in relative terms.
Since Pakistani forces were involved in a conflict on Indian Territory, Nehru considered expanding the confrontation into a full-scale counterattack against Pakistan. But Lord Mountbatten persuaded him to go to the UN instead .He convinced Nehru that the UN would promptly direct Pakistan to withdraw the raiders who had invaded Kashmir. So on January 1, 1948, India turned to the UN Security Council.
India accused Pakistan of forthright aggression. Further damning was the Indian claim that many of 19,000 “invaders” who had entered Kashmir were Pathan tribesmen from NWFP, near the Afghan border, who had been transported across all of the Pakistan in order to reach Kashmiri territory. The Indians insisted that the Security Council call on Pakistan to stop these attacks, warning that the situation in Kashmir was a “threat to International peace and security with which it is pregnant if it is not solved immediately”.
Press reports at the time supported India’s charge. For example, the Time of London wrote on January 13, 1948, “That Pakistan is unofficially involved in aiding the raiders is certain. Their correspondent has
first hand evidence that arms, ammunition and supplies are being made available to the Azad Kashmir forces. A few Pakistani officers also helping direct their operations “
Pakistan countered the Indian Charges at the UN and flatly denied that it has provided any assistance to the tribesmen who had invaded Kashmir. and Pakistani foreign Minister questioned the validity of Kashmir’s accession to India , though India’s representative had promised the security Council that the Kashmiri people would have a plebiscite to ratify the accession .
The UN Security Council adopted a policy of strict evenhandedness in its treatment of both India and Pakistan .On January 20, 1948, the UN passed a resolution establishing a three-member commission on India and Pakistan UNCIP to travel to Kashmir and determine the facts of what exactly had happened. The resolution said nothing about a Pakistani insurgency or “tribesmen” that appeared in India’s complaint. India had brought what it felt was a clear-cut case of aggression to the UN and come up empty-handed, with the UN’s only response being to form a committee. This was hardly the decisive action Lord Mountbatten had promised.
At the UN, Indian officials felt, Pakistan “ had succeeded, with the support of the British and American members, in diverting the attention from that complaint [of Pakistani aggression] to the problem of the
dispute between India and Pakistan over the question of Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, “ Pakistan’s aggression was pushed into background.” Sardar Patel, the Indian Official responsible for the States Ministry, concluded that by referring the Kashmir issue to the UN, India had unwittingly prolonged the dispute and obscured the merits of its case. Indeed, the Conflict appeared to be escalating after the UN’s first engagement. In short, for India, going to the UN was a mistake.
What went wrong for India at the UN Security Council? Didn’t the Indians have an Open-and –shut case of Pakistani aggression against their territory? It turned out that Mountbatten’s suggestion to Nehru that he would get a fair hearing at the UN had been somewhat disingenuous. British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin wrote to PM Clement Attlee that London had to be very careful about siding with India at the UN, given the tensions that had arisen in the Islamic world over Palestine. Against this background, one can see how it would have been difficult for India to get a fair hearing in the UN Security Council. The British, as well as the Americans, who followed their lead, had greater interests in Pakistan, which was immediately contiguous to the Eurasian landmasses, and could provide strategic bases to the West in the emerging Cold War. These military interests, and not any abstract principles about aggression, would determine their approach to the Indian complaint at the UN.
On April 21, 1948, the UN Security Council adopted another resolution on Kashmir, this one expanding UNCIP’s membership to five states and stating that “tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident there “needed to withdraw from Kashmir. With resolution 726, it looked as though the UN was slowly beginning to acknowledge aggression. But the resolution did not suggest strong and immediate steps to remedy what had occurred, and it also called on India to reduce its forces in Kashmir “to minimum strength required “ for maintaining Law and order.
Moreover, it very carefully balanced its call for Pakistan to withdraw insurgents with a call for India to hold a plebiscite on Kashmir. It was as though both states were equally fault: Pakistan for promoting an insurgency in Kashmir, and India for delaying the plebiscite that in fact, had originally proposed.


The UN crated a kind of false symmetry between the fundamental grievances of each side and placed them on the same moral plane. Indian government ultimately rejected the UN’s latest intervention, arguing that resolution 726 made India look a “co-accused” with Pakistan.
When UNCIP prepared its first report, it finally recognized Pakistan’s direct involvement in Kashmir. Despite that UN still was not willing to determine that aggression had occurred and to take measures accordingly. Rather being punished by the UN for its aggression, Pakistan was deriving distinct territorial and strategic advantages.


The Legacy of early failure:
The UN’s failure to deal with conflicts in Israel and Kashmir had a profound impact. These tests came almost immediately after the organization’s formation, and by failing to take firm stand against well-documented cases of aggression; the UN betrayed the vision of its founding fathers. In each case it was not difficult to establish that a country had been the victim of armed attack.
The natural tendency of UN diplomats was to accept the arguments of warring parties equally, rather than penalizing the aggressor, rewarding the defender; and thereby deterring armed attacks in future. It is no wonder that India eventually regretted that it had turned to the UN in the first place. The UN not only “internationalized” the issue of Kashmir’s fate, which from India’s perspective was an internal matter, it also prolonged the conflict with Pakistan, which lead to at least 2 full scale wars on the Indian Subcontinent. It repeatedly created a false equivalence between those who tried to work within the norm of the UN and those who rejected them.
The UN’s failure with Israel and India were particularly problematic because these cases set precedents. Article 2 of the UN charter prohibited the use of force against the “territorial integrity” of another state. Many states, disputing the borders of their neighbors, could argue that this fundamental UN prohibition was not applicable in their case, because their military incursion did not violate their neighbor’s territorial integrity. Dozens of states with irredentist claim could exploit this loophole, leading to worldwide anarchical conditions. Why rely on the caveats of the UN charter when Pakistan had moved into Kashmir and was not condemned? Why shouldn’t they follow that lead?
Communist China was one nation, which took the advantage of the UN’s failures. In October 1950, a half million PLA soldiers invaded Tibet to assert China’s territorial claim. The question of whether the status of Tibet was an internal affairs or a matter of International dispute has been settled by overwhelming force.
The problem wasn’t that Chinese specifically examined that cases of Indian or Israel and then decided that they could grab Tibet with impunity. The problem was that the UN’s failure to act decisively had made it difficult to discern a clear and broadly applied UN doctrine against aggression. Stopping aggression was one of the main purposes for which the UN had been founded; yet even in the few years since it was born, aggression was spreading. In June 1950, just before the subjugation of Tibet, a massive force from North Korea had invaded South Korea.
The absence of a firm norm against aggression plagued the UN in the subsequent decades as well, India took the law into its hands in 1962, when it overran the tiny Portuguese colony of Goa India could argue that since the UN had NOT openly condemned Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir, India had also a right to use force, especially against an outdated colonial outpost whose legitimacy, it would argue, the new global consensus in the General Assembly did not accept.
The use of force to consolidate new states became the norm in the Third World.
The UN was designed to fill a unique role. It was supposed to create international standards that would help shape a more stable world order. The UN Charter specifically empowered the UN Security Council to determine whether an act of aggression had taken place (Article 39). The mandate was clear, but unfortunately the UN has not been able to follow the mandate consistently. The problem is that the UN Security Council is not a court that determines the guilt or innocence of states by trying to use objective legal criteria. It is first and foremost a political body, and it has been grossly inconsistent in judging cases of aggression. Moral relativism was an inevitable by-product of the UN’s work; often the attacker was not treated very different from the victim of aggression.
As early as the 1940’s and 1950’s the UN did not meet its responsibility to respond to acts of aggression, and therefore it did not advance the sense that there was an agreed basis for a new world order. Instead what healed the international community together was the alliance system created by the Cold War

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