–New Delhi says Kashmir issue is ‘bilateral’, UN chief should instead push Pakistan to stop alleged cross-border terrorism
Hours after United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres reiterated his offer to mediate on Kashmir dispute on Sunday, India rejected the offer, saying that “there is no role or scope for third party mediation” on the issue, The Hindu reported on Monday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a day earlier, Guterres – who is on a four-day visit to Pakistan – had said he had offered his offices and was “ready to help if both countries agree for mediation.” Discussing relations between the two arch-rivals, he stressed the need for de-escalation, both militarily and verbally.
However, India rejected his offer for mediation late Sunday evening.
According to The Hindu, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson said, “The issue of [Jammu and Kashmir] that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation.”
Kumar further said that India hopes Gutteres will “emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take a credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India”.
Pakistan has repeatedly denied the allegations.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has alleged that Pakistan continues to wage a “proxy war” against India by “backing militants” in occupied Kashmir — an allegation repeatedly denied by Pakistan — where tens of thousands of people have died in recent decades.
This is not the first time India has rejected an offer for mediation on the Kashmir dispute.
In July last year, US President Donald Trump had expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the 70-year-old Kashmir dispute — an offer he has repeated but has been rejected by India.
Last week, India took exception to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unequivocal support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) and told Turkey to “not interfere in India’s internal affairs.”
Indian forces have been widely accused by Kashmiris and human rights groups of some of the worst violations reported during the last three decades of conflict; from summary executions, torture and rape to holding suspects as well as civilians for ransom.
UN CHIEF OFFERS MEDIATION:
On Sunday, Guterres, while discussing Pakistan and India’s relations, had said: “We have taken position about the need for Security Council’s resolutions to be implemented for effective de-escalation.”
“Another important aspect, which needs full respect for human rights and continental freedom in Jammu & Kashmir, is that people should have free movement as it has in Pakistan’s side. I hope this will also be achieved on the other side [India]. I have offered my good offices in relation to the situation and our position is that the Security Council’s resolutions be implemented,” he added.
“Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council,” the UN chief said, adding that he had repeatedly “reiterated my offer to exercise my good offices should both sides ask”.
Talking about occupied Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control, the UN chief said he was “deeply concerned” and had “repeatedly stressed the importance of exercising maximum restraint”.