September 25, 2018
Peace as an imperative
He had briefly visited last year in July 2016, just months ahead of the elections for seventh Secretary General of the organization.
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, will be arriving in New Delhi on a visit on 1st October. It will be his first visit to India since he took over office on 1st January 2017. He had briefly visited last year in July 2016, just months ahead of the elections for seventh Secretary General of the organization.
Since his takeover he has been articulating his fears about the peace in South Asia and pleading for a dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad for resolving their disputes. More than once he offered his services as a mediator. Instead of choosing to gloss over the ground realities he talked about the human rights situation on both the sides of the LOC and hinted at his support for an independent international investigation into the situation. More than once he has amply made it clear that the Human Rights High Commissioner’s action “represents the voice of the UN” on the issue. His trip coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, country’s symbol of peace.
His multiple engagements during the visit include throwing open new UN House in the capital, meeting President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The visit was expected to augur well for peace in the region and cause a thaw in deeply frozen relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. It was expected to bring calm along the LoC and offer some relief to over three million people living along the 800 Kms long line dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Nevertheless, he is visiting at a time when not peace but war talk is boisterously resounding in the sub-continent and chances for peace in the region are diminishing.
The hope for a dialogue between the estranged neighbours had brightened just some days back. But the initiative lived to the adage ‘peace between the two countries is as fragile a dry dandelion flower that disappears at blowing of a breath.’
There are no two opinions that the peace in South Asia hinges on relations between the two countries. To see the two hostile nuclear powers engage in a meaningful and time-bound negotiations for resolving their disputes Antonio Guterres during his visit to New Delhi will have to make an extra effort.