Hours after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote to United Nations on the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Antonio Guterres, the chief of the intergovernmental organisation, in a statement, urged the two neighbours to exercise restraint. Guterres also stated that he was following the tense situation in the India-Pakistan region "with concern" after the Indian government scrapped Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution to take away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Rajya Sabha approved the resolution abrogating Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Moving the resolution in the House, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the controversial provisions were responsible for poverty and lack of development in the state.
"We are following with concern the tense situation in the region... We urge all parties to exercise restraint," Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing on Monday.
Dujarric was responding to a question on whether the UN Secretary General has any comment on India's decision to revoke Kashmir's special status and the Pakistani's response that this is a violation of UNSC resolutions calling for a UN-organised plebiscite. He said the UN is also aware of reports of restrictions in Kashmir in India.
Answering another question on whether the UN chief intends to play a role in resolving the issue, Dujarric said, "We are very concerned about the rise in tensions. As for the Secretary General's role, he has often expressed his position on that and his position remains the same," a reference to the UN chief's position that his good offices are always available should "both sides" ask for it.
Dujarric also referred to a brief statement he issued on Sunday that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observed and reported an increase in military activity along the Line of Control (LoC) in recent days.
"The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate," he had said in the statement on Sunday.
The UNMOGIP, established in January 1949, observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the LoC and the Working Boundary between the two neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations. India, however, maintains that UNMOGIP has "outlived its relevance" after the Simla Agreement signed between the two countries in 1972.