By Lalit K Jha
Washington, September 30 (PTI) It is time for India and Pakistan to work together on climate change, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said, highlighting the impact of global warming which has caused flooding unprecedented in his country.
Bilawal, who is in Washington DC for a series of bilateral meetings, told a Pakistani media group on Friday that given the situation his country is in with the devastating floods, “it is time India and Pakistan are working together on the issue of climate change”.
“A third of our country is under water. One in seven people (affected by floods). If we say this to fight climate change, the United States and China should work together. (We) should think about India and Pakistan working together on the issue of climate change,” Bilawal said.
Scientists and experts attribute this dire situation in Pakistan to melting glaciers due to climate change. The United States announced massive humanitarian assistance of $66 million to the people of Pakistan.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained over the issue of Kashmir and cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. Ties between the two countries crumbled after India repealed Article 370 of the Constitution, revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories on August 5, 2019 .
Following India’s decision, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with New Delhi and expelled the Indian envoy. Trade relations between Pakistan and India have been largely frozen since then.
In response to another question on the reform of the UN Security Council, Bilawal reiterated Pakistan’s position against India’s bid for permanent membership in the global body.
Pakistan favors the abolition of the UN Security Council’s veto power, he said.
Pakistan opposes the position of the G-4 countries – India, Brazil, Germany and Japan – on reforming the UN Security Council and expanding the number of permanent members.
The G-4 group has called for the expansion of permanent and non-permanent seats on the Security Council to make the powerful UN body more representative and reflect the changing world order.
India has been at the forefront of years-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying it rightfully deserves a place as a permanent member of the Council, which in its current form does not does not represent the geopolitical realities of the 21st century.
In his reference to neighboring India, Bilawal said “we don’t have that reciprocal partner there”.
“2018-2019 prevented us from engaging (with India) for a whole host of reasons,” he said, adding that if there is one area where the two nations can work together, it is climate change.
“Because, what we went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies,” he said.
The floods have killed more than 1,600 people and displaced more than 33 million others in Pakistan.
The floods left a third of the country submerged in water and caused damage estimated at nearly $30 billion.
India-Pakistan relations have been strained over the Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two union territories on August 5, 2019.
Following India’s decision, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with New Delhi and expelled the Indian envoy. Trade relations between Pakistan and India have been largely frozen since then. PTI LKJ NSA PMS PMS
By Lalit K Jha