UNITED NATIONS/LAHORE - Pakistan has emphasised the need for resolving the longstanding Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the course of a Security Council debate.

Islamabad has raised the matter in the world body when the national security advisers (NSAs) of the two nuclear neighbours are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on Monday.

The fate of bilateral talks has been clouded by Pakistan’s inviting Hurriyat Conference leaders, who are leading Kashmiris’ struggle for independence from India, to its New Delhi High Commission to meet NSA Sartaj Aziz.

India called off peace talks a year ago after Pakistan consulted Hurriyat leaders before a meeting between their foreign secretaries. At the time, India accused Pakistan of interfering in its domestic affairs.

Participating in the UNSC debate on regional organisations and contemporary global security challenges, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi on Tuesday said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in cooperation with the United Nations, has the potential to deal with the Kashmir dispute and address the Middle East’s current security challenges.

“The OIC can also contribute to the promotion of global peace and prosperity,” she said, while pointing out that the membership of 57-nation organisation spans four continents that face security challenges.

“Collectively, and in cooperation with the UN, it has the capabilities to address and overcome these challenges – including Palestine and other Middle East conflicts as well as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” she told the 15-member Council.

“The UN should actively promote cooperation with the OIC in areas such as: mediation and conciliation of disputes; peacekeeping and peace building; humanitarian assistance, especially to refugees and displaced people; and in addressing the root causes of conflicts and extremism.”

Dr Lodhi addressed the Security Council a few hours after US Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement expressing “serious concern” over the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region, and called on India and Pakistan to address their differences through dialogue.

Ambassador Lodhi called for political will among global and regional powers to use financial, scientific and organisational capabilities cooperatively and to “rise above their own narrow interests”.

The United States, the most influential member of the world body, said on Tuesday it has strong bilateral relations with both Pakistan and India and therefore it still wants to see peaceful resolution of tensions between them.

In her speech, the Pakistani envoy referred to the growing global threats to peace and world order stemming from diverse sources – climate change, poverty, unemployment, especially among youth, water scarcity, record number of refugees and forced migrants, and the gross violations of human rights – and said regional organisations can contribute to addressing many of these challenges.

Regional organisations could help address challenges – especially the economic and social dimensions – as well as promote closer political consultations required for addressing security dimensions, she maintained.

While they could promote mediation, arbitration and other peaceful means to resolve conflict, the United Nations had primacy, as any enforcement action could only be authorised by the Council, Dr Lodhi said.

Each regional organisation was unique: some had proven their worth, such as the European Union, African Union and Arab League, while others, such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), had yet to fulfil that promise, the ambassador added.

There was no immediate official Indian response on Pakistani envoy’s call for greater global cooperation and involvement for the resolution of Kashmir, but Indian media reported that New Delhi was ‘irate’ and it would come with an official response on Islamabad’s invitation to leaders from Indian-held Kashmir.

Hardline Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani is among the leaders invited to the Pakistan High Commission on August 23, the day talks between the security officials are due to start, Ayaz Akbar, said a spokesman for Hurriyat Conference faction led by Geelani.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, considered to be a moderate, who leads another faction of Hurriyat Conference, is invited for the reception being held in Aziz’s honour by the Pakistan mission. Manzoor Ali Memon, a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy, confirmed the invitations and declined to comment further.

Earlier Indian governments had grudgingly tolerated meetings between Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected last year, signalled he would not.

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby, in his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, said, “We know there continue to be tensions and our position about that has not changed. These are matters for both India and Pakistan to work out.“ There was certainly enough motivation to do that given that tension still exists, he added.

Referring to the Independence Day celebrations, observed by both countries last week, he said that such celebrations offer good opportunity for everybody, whether they are Indians or Pakistanis, to reflect on common challenges of security situation between and inside the two countries. “We certainly would hope that people will take advantage of these anniversaries to do just that,” he added.

Responding to a question, Kirby said that all recognised, including US partners in that region, that terrorism was a shared challenge and it was a shared responsibility of all to work together, share information as best as we can, and work in cooperation against it.

Modi has taken a tougher approach to Pakistan and clashes on the disputed border have intensified. Indian and Pakistani troops traded gunfire and mortar rounds along their frontier earlier this week, killing eight people.

Hopes for warmer ties rose last month when Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, met on the sidelines of a summit in Russia and agreed that their national security advisers would hold talks. A spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to requests for comment..