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When Syed Akbaruddin walked up to Pakistani scribe and said "Let me begin by shaking your hand"

By Vishal S

New York, Aug 16: Soon after the UNSC meeting on Kashmir got over, India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin spoke to the media in New York and made New Delhi's stand clear on the entire matter. Akbaruddin, in a veiled manner, blasted Pakistan for trying meddle with situation in Kashmir which is purely and internal matter of India.

Syed Akbaruddin speaking at UN (Image courtesy - DD news screengrab)

When a Pakistani journalist asked "When will you begin dialogue with Pakistan", Akbaruddin quickly walked up to the scribe, and said "Let me begin with you by shaking your hand". He shook hands with three journalists there and returned to the podium. Then he said, "We have already told you that we are committed to Shimla Agreement, let us wait for response on that from the Pakistani side.

This happened after Akbaruddin had answered three questions on the Kashmir issue in which he firmly asserted that any decision on Kashmir is purely an internal matter of India.

He then took few more questions and said normal diplomatic channels between two countries are open. Before ending his interaction, he spoke again on talks with Pakistan and said "Talks will happen only when the terror stops." Akbaruddin also said that no normal country would use terrorism to achieve whatever it want wants to, in a sharp but veiled attack at Pakistan.

[UNSC meet on Kashmir ends; India-Pak urged to avoid actions that would 'escalate the situation']

Akbaruddin stated that India's decision to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, have no external ramifications.

"We are committed to gradually removing all restrictions. Since the change is internal to India,have not made any difference to our external orientation. India remains committed to ensure that the situation there remains calm and peaceful," Akbaruddin said

"These have no external ramifications, the recent decisions taken by the Govt of India and our legislative bodies are intended to ensure that good governance is promoted, social economic development is enhance for our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh," he added.

[UNSC meet on Kashmir, a rare first after 54 years]

While Akbaruddin was leaving after his interactions with media, a journalist asked, ""Don't these restrictions undermine the image of India of being an open democracy?", India's permanent representative at the UN came back, said "I would not have answered this, but as a representative of open democracy i Will."

He took a dig at the Permanent Representatives - Zhang Jun of China and Maleeha Lodhi of Pakistan - who refused to answer questions from reporters after reading their statement.

"People who came here, just walked off. (But) as the representative of an open democracy, I am ready to answer (your questions.)"

[As UNSC closed door meet on Kashmir begins, Khan dials Trump]

While answering to a question on India army allegedly violating human rights in Kashmir he answered, "No inter governmental organization in the world has ever said anything about Indian democracy, Indian commitment to human rights, we are the the country who started issues of apartheid at the UN. None of you who are talking about this are even worried about that. Don't forget, India was the country which changed the human rights declaration."

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting to discuss Kashmir issue was held today. China had asked for a meeting after its close ally Pakistan pushed for it following India's August 5 decision to revoke Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

[The diplomatic meticulousness behind Article 370's revocation]

The Security Council reportedly urged the parties to refrain from actions that would exacerbate tensions in the region. The members also reaffirmed relevant Council resolutions on the issue. The members voiced support for India and Pakistan to settle the dispute through peaceful manner, including through direct dialogue, based on related bilateral agreements in accordance with UN Charter.

Who is Syed Akbaruddin?

  • Syed Akbaruddin is India's permanent representative at the UN since January 2016.
  • He is an Indian Foreign Service Officer (IFS) of 1985 batch.
  • He also served as Director of Foreign Secretary's Office of the Ministry of External Affairs from 2004 to 2005.
  • He is considered an expert on the West Asia issues in India and has served in various capacities in that region including consul-general at Jeddah from 2000 to 2004.
  • Akbaruddin was the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs from January 2012 to April 2015.
  • He headed the External Publicity and Public Diplomacy division of the Ministry of External Affairs in the capacity of Joint Secretary to Government of India.
  • He was also the chief coordinator for the India-Africa Summit in October 2015.
  • Syed Akbaruddin is an alumnus of The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet.
  • He is the son of S Bashiruddin, former head of the department of Journalism and Communication at Osmania University and Indian ambassador to Qatar.
  • His mother Dr Zeba Bashiruddin, was a member of the English department at Sri Sathya Sai University.

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