On June 14, 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released their first-ever report on the human rights situation across the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. The report unveiled massive human rights abuses in Indian-Held-Kashmir that ranged from rape, torture, unlawful killings, to the use of prohibited weapons. It also highlighted abuses in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan on the Pakistani side, however, termed them ‘a different calibre or magnitude and of a more structural nature’. The UNHRC, subsequently, has proposed to create a commission that could formally investigate the on ground situation. Just a few hours later, the official response of the Indian government surfaced in the media, in which they stated that “India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report. It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative.” India’s fervent reaction is justified. Since the very beginning, India has been advancing bilateralism vis-à-vis the Kashmir conflict. They never endorsed any kind of ‘sponsored détente’, offered time-to-time by the international community. India upholds that the right of self-determination would actually fan the separatism forces in the county, hence, they are obsessed with the bilateral mentality. In line with this thinking, the report put a serious dent on their bilateral approach, as the international community is now very much concerned about the gross human rights violations, particularly in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). Moreover, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui’s recent statement on the side-line of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit further disturbed India. Lou actually endorsed an idea floated by some Indian friends to have a trilateral summit (China, India and Pakistan), under the auspices of SCO, to resolve these bilateral issues. New Delhi outright rejected any kind of cooperation in this regard and stressed that the Indian-Pakistani relations are purely bilateral in nature. Labelling the UNHCR report as ‘Pakistan-authored’, subsequent rejection of the inquiry commission and swift reaction to Lou’s suggestion speaks volumes about India’s Pakistan-centric approach with respect to Kashmir. Apart from reactions, these are indeed tell-tale signs for diminished bilateralism. Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui endorsed the idea to have a trilateral summit (China, India and Pakistan), under the auspices of SCO, to resolve bilateral issues. India swiftly rejected this suggestion, and combined with their opposition to the UNHCR report and the rejection of an inquiry commission The report has actually added a new energy to the decades-old conflict. It is undoubtedly, a defining moment in the history of the internal Kashmiri struggle, with even the international community congratulating them on this important step. It sparked a wave of euphoria across Kashmir. The report, in a broader context, negated the internalization of the Kashmiri issue. Pakistan’s overwhelming remarks in the wake of this report are also justified, as Islamabad has come a long way in making the world take notice of the Indian atrocities in IHK, but there is still more to do in order to fulfil their desire for self-determination. New-Delhi must review their foreign policy in light of changing regional and international dynamics. The world is rapidly moving on from geo-strategies to geo-economics. Human security issues are gaining importance over the question of traditional security. Countries with a record of human rights violations and intra-state conflicts surely minimise their chances to gain from global markets. China is crucial for both Indian and Pakistani economic interests. Apart from normal trade, two Chinese mega projects are already underway in the region, aimed at integrating the entire region under the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI). These include the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor (BCIM). Russia has also expressed interest and their ambitious plans for the region. In these changing scenarios, everyone would naturally be concerned with the Kashmiri conflict, as it has the potential to jeopardize any kind of cooperation between nations. Pakistan has welcomed the UNHRC proposal to establish a commission to investigate gross human rights violations not only in IHK, but also in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Apart from this goodwill gesture, Pakistan needs to adopt an offensive diplomatic strategy to further the Kashmiri cause as it is no longer a matter of concern for just India and Pakistan. By not allowing a fact-finding mission to investigate the situation further, India, would only hurt their own interests in the region, further denting their credibility. India should act as a responsible UN member and give them a chance to prove or refute the claims made in the report. It is not a matter of winning and losing, rather, a matter of thousands of Kashmiri people who have been suffering their entire lives. Now, the ball is in India’s court and the whole world is watching. The writer is a Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad And can be contacted at his Email: email@example.com Published in Daily Times, July 29th 2018.