Prime Minister Narendra Modi's five-day trip to the United States does not seem to have begun on the note he would have envisaged. A day after a US court issued summons against him over the Gujarat riots, bitter-neighbour Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly, where Modi will make an address on Saturday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday brought up the issue of Kashmir in his address at the United Nations General assembly, even calling for international intervention.
"The core issue of Jammu and Kashmir has to be resolved. This is the responsibility of the international community. We cannot draw a veil on the issue of Kashmir, until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said at the ongoing 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
"Our support and advocacy of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is our historic commitment and a duty, as a party to the Kashmir dispute," he noted.
Sharif also brought up the issue of a plebiscite that had been recommended by the UN six decades ago.
"The people of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for fulfilment of that promise," he said.
Sharif then spoke about the life of people in the troubled state, citing violence and human rights violations, and stating that Kashmiri women were being subjected to "suffering and humiliation".
While Pakistan's rant on Kashmir was on expected lines, especially given that Sharif faces stiff pressure from the Army back home, he also chose to bring up the issue of the cancelled secretary-level talks last month, when India acted tough following a Pakistani envoy's meeting with Kashmiri separatists.
"We were disappointed at the cancellation of the Foreign Secretary-level talks. The world community, too, rightly saw it as another missed opportunity," he said. "Pakistan is convinced that we must remain engaged in dialogue for settling disputes and building economic and trade relations. Let us not ignore the dividends of peace."
Several sections of the Indian media blasted Sharif for focusing singularly on problems with India, and underplaying the raging issue of terrorism in the country.
Indian authorities also called Sharif's Kashmir rant "untenable" and "unwarranted references".
It is now to be seen whether Modi addresses the issue during his speech or chooses instead to block Pakistan out from his address entirely. Luckily for him, the US court summons issue was buried soon enough by the Obama administration, which assured that Modi had total immunity from legal proceedings as the visiting head of state.