Once again, a pandemic ceasefire has been proposed in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to curb tensions amidst continuously rising COVID-19 cases to ensure that the focus of each state is protection against the raging virus. While its global enactment is a sensible step forward, we are yet to see any country conform through taking decisive action. As such, if any hopes of recovery are to be met, the UN must propose a broad agenda, especially for states that have been heavily impacted by turmoil—be it politically, militarily or medically charged.

Extending the ceasefire until the end of 2020 would ensure that restricting, if not completely curbing, coronavirus is a priority for nations. It would demand for authorities to recognise a progressively vulnerable society and persuade them to diffuse external tensions. However, brief and general statements made in the assembly will neither suffice nor be of any consequence. The reason why is because it fails to address the degradation of international relations over pertinent issues, like Kashmir, despite the proposition of a ceasefire earlier in March as well. The conditions in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) have only gotten worse as time passes—mass censorship, excessive use of institutionalised violence and violation of constitutional rights and status are just a few of the injustices done to the Kashmiri people. Surely, the application of a global truce should extend to issues like illegal military sieges as well.

Closely following the US, India is second in WHO’s list of the countries most impacted by COVID-19. It has the highest rate of transmission in the world and recently reported 97,570 new cases in a single day. In light of such circumstances, it is important for the UN to correct this preposterous misdirection of attention towards territorial claims, and use of violent intimidation in Kashmir.