New York: The United Nations has said that Kashmir is an internal matter of India and it has no mandate beyond the Line of Control (LoC) to monitor the situation there.
The remarks mark a U-turn as the UN had recently said that it will continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir through its military observer group in India and Pakistan.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric issued the clarification after the UN chief's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters earlier this week that the UN will continue to monitor the situation in Kashmir, including through "our monitoring group" UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
"I just wanted to clarify something, which is that UNMOGIP, the UN observer presence there, its mandate is to report on the ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control. The UN Mission there does not have a mandate there beyond the Line of Control," Dujarric said regarding the situation in Kashmir.
When asked why he was making the clarification, Dujarric said, "because I think it needed to be said", reported PTI news agency.
Analysts are reading the latest statement to imply that the situation and incidents in Kashmir are India's internal matter and do not come under the control of UNMOGIP that only observes and reports on ceasefire violations along the LoC and does not monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dujarric was also asked why the Secretary General does not initiate efforts to settle the Kashmir conflict, even as the world body is trying to resolve conflicts in Cyprus and the Middle East.
"I will leave it to you and others to...to analyse the reasoning. I think the questions on the situation in Kashmir have come up with us today and previously. Our answers to those questions remain the same," Dujarric said, without elaborating.
Asked why there is "reluctance" on the part of the Secretary-General and the UN to offer any comments on the situation in Kashmir, Dujarric said when questions arise on the issue, the UN offers comments.
"So I don't agree as being reluctant," he said.
According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC). India has always stated that it has "no role to play whatsoever".
As of March 31 this year, UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25 international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.
(With PTI inputs)