Kashmir is bilateral issue, no role in Indo-Pak affairs: UN

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, Sept 10:  Terming Kashmir as bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, the Director of United Nations Information Centre for Bhutan and India (UNIC), Kiran Mehra Kerpelman today made it clear that the world  body has no role to play into the affairs between two neighbouring countries.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two countries and it will remain so as long as India and Pakistan want to see it as bilateral,” she said while replying to a query during ‘Meet the Press’ programme, organized by the Press Club of Jammu, here today.
Mrs Kiran, who is the spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, also maintained that the United Nations is not the right forum even to promote confidence building measures between the two countries and suggested that such initiatives should be taken at Government level in India and Pakistan.
“Political leadership in India and Pakistan should take initiatives by engaging various institutions and forums for promoting people to people contact and other peace initiatives. UN is not the right forum for the same even as I have been contacted personally to do something to bring both the sides together,” she said while expressing limitations of the world body.
Describing India as a key player in global market, the UNIC Director said that the world would not be able to reach at the goal if India does not achieve the same.
Replying to a query on ‘child soldiers’ being prepared by terrorist outfits, the UNIC Director expressed serious concern  over the issue irrespective of any country but hastened to add that the world body could  not do more to address this huge problem which falls under the domain of  local Governments.
“The UNIC, which represents the United Nations Secretariat, is focusing on sports to channelize youth energy for peace and we are focusing on connecting institutions, including schools for outreach at local   and global levels. “We do it hand in hand with the Government for creating connection at different levels and here our mission is UN India Connect,” she said and also  encouraged journalistic fraternity to come forward in this mission for developing Model United Nations.
“Peace is not just absence of war. Please find social issues and write on them because more you push organizations like us, more you contribute towards the society and world,” she exhorted.
In response to  another query on permanent seat to India in United Nations  and recognition to Hindi as  UN language, Kiran Mehra termed both the issues as complex but added that Hindi was already being used as UN language in India.
Earlier, giving a quick idea of UN Information Centre on India and Bhutan, Mrs Kiran Mehra said that UNIC was providing information on the United Nations to media, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, educational institutions, academic and other research centers and think-tanks, educators and students, among others.
“We are publicizing UN initiatives and programmes, organizing briefings on the work of the United Nations, assisting UN agencies in India with their communication strategies and information needs, partnering with National and State Government Ministries and departments in the observance of International Days and collaborating with youth-centered initiatives such as Model UN conferences,” she informed.
On the occasion, president of Press Club Jammu, Ashwani Kumar, secretary general Zorawar Singh Jamwal, vice-president Abhimanyu Sharma, treasurer Dinesh Manhotra and members of the executive body were also present.