Farooq Abdullah to Modi government: Seize G20 presidency to resolve Kashmir issue


22 November 2022

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said on Monday that India may use G20 presidency to engage Pakistan in peaceful means of resolving the Kashmir issue and also towards ending the war in Ukraine.

India will hold the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022 and convene the G20 leaders' summit in 2023 for the first time. India has been a member of G20, an influential grouping that brings together 19 of the world's leading economies and the European Union, with its members accounting for more than 80 per cent of global GDP, 75 percent of global trade and 60 percent of the global population. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been leading the country’s representation at G20 since 2014.

Neither Pakistan is not a member of the G20 group. Its member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had last week while speaking via a video link to the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali told world leaders that now is the time to stop Russia’s war on his country under a peace plan he has proposed.  He had asserted that the war should be ended “justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law”.

Abdullah while talking to reporters in Jammu expressed hope that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would be successful in ending the Ukraine war” which, he said, has stretched for nearly nine months now, creating havoc on the global economic situation. He also said that India can use the opportunity of taking the G20 presidency from Indonesia to engage Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

“I am happy that we (India) are assuming the presidency of G20 and I hope that the Prime Minister will be successful in ending the Russia-Ukraine war that has badly hit the economy of the world,” he said. He added, “Secondly, we have a problem with our neighbouring country (Pakistan over Kashmir). There can be a possibility to seek a solution (to the issue) to end our hardships.”

Incidentally, the Indian government has chosen Jammu and Kashmir as the venue for hosting some of the events during the G20 leaders’ summit in 2023. Following receiving a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the J&K government had earlier this year set up a five-member "high level committee" for overall coordination for the proposed events. However, as was said by the government then, the modalities for these events and meetings would be worked out by the MEA. If through, this will be the first major international summit event to be held in J&K after the Narendra Modi government scripted a “historical change” in the status of the erstwhile state by abrogating Article 370 in August 2019.

However, Pakistan is learnt to have already conveyed through diplomatic channels to some of the member nations its objection to India’s plan of holding some of the 2023 G20 summit related events in J&K, pleading it is a disputed territory. It has reportedly told Turkiye, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia which are also members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to stay away from any G20 event held in J&K, and as per the Pakistani media reports, is trying to influence other member countries on similar ground.

Abdullah when asked if he favoured dialogue with Pakistan, he said, “When I bat for dialogue with Pakistan, Home Minister says that they (Centre) will talk to children (of J&K) but not Pakistan.” He said, “But our fight is with them (Pakistan) and not with our children…now I am tired of asking for dialogue with Pakistan as when I do it, they dub me as anti-national.”

The former chief minister added, “They (Centre) will, however, one day have to talk to Pakistan. How it will happen, I don’t know.” End it

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