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Meet 9 Indian diplomats behind India's masterstroke at UNHRC, Geneva

File photo: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria. Photograph:( ANI )

WION New York, United States Sep 21, 2019, 10.22 PM (IST) Edited By: Sidhant Sibal

With just one week left for the United Nations Human Rights Council to get over, India has been able to thwart Pakistan's attempts to rake up the Kashmir issue at the Geneva-based body. 

The 42nd session of the Human Rights Council is underway in Geneva where the headquarters of UNHRC is located from September 9 to 27.

Behind India’s victory was the work of 9 Indian diplomats who were able to make sure Pakistan's attempts to raise Kashmir fall flat at the UN institution. 

The 9-member team was led by secretary east Vijay Thakur Singh who was entrusted by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to chalk out the detailed strategy.

Some of the key members were India’s envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, India’s permanent representative to UN, Rajiv Chander; Deputy Permanent Representative to UN, Puneet Aggarwal; first secretary in India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva, Vimarsh Aryan; Animesh Choudhury, first secretary covering economic matters in the sphere of human rights; Mini Devi; Gloria Gangte and Alok Ranjan Jha.

Bisaria, who was sent back by Pakistan after the decision by New Delhi to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir, camped in Geneva and reached out to UNHRC members. Ajay Bisaria, who was the private secretary to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, met UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on Friday and briefed about New Delhi’s rationale on revoking Article 370. The fact that Bisaria was sent as part of the team is considered a masterstroke by EAM Jaishankar.

Vimarsh Aryan, who slammed Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, hails from Jammu and Kashmir and is the only Indian diplomat who has served there for 3 years. The fact that the MEA chose a diplomat who from J&K to reply to Pak's foreign minister is a message in itself which will be noticed across the world, especially in Islamabad. His right of reply went viral, and on the day of the reply, he became one of the Twitter trends in India. Vimarsh had, in the past, served as the private secretary to former minister of state in the Ministry of External Affairs General VK Singh. Vimarsh, who speaks Arabic fluently, reached out to Arab diplomats.

Animesh has reached out to several countries in the neighbourhood and Latin America. Because of his fluency in Spanish, his outreach to the Latin American countries was significant and effective. Given his experience in handling high-pressure assignments, as private secretary to former Minister of State for External Affairs, he was roped in to deal with the important assignment.

MEA had deputed Gloria Gangte and Alok Ranjan Jha from New Delhi specially for the human rights session. They were chosen since they had previous experience in the field of human rights. Both officers had previously served in the Indian Mission in Geneva. Mini Devi, first secretary in India’s permanent mission in Geneva, covers Human Rights and was actively involved in the entire exercise.
 
Islamabad could not muster any support to bring a resolution on Kashmir - something the country was aiming for and failed despite claiming to have the support of 50 countries. The list of 50 countries backing Pakistan was never released by Islamabad.

Story highlights

Behind India’s victory was the work of 9 Indian diplomats who were able to make sure Pakistan's attempts to raise Kashmir fall flat at the UN institution.