No role, scope of third-party mediation on Kashmir issue: India tells UN chief
The UN Secretary-General said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate "militarily and verbally" and exercise "maximum restraint" on the Kashmir issue.
India has turned down UN chief Antonio Guterres's offer of mediation after he said that he was “deeply concerned" over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and offered to help New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the long pending issue. The UN Secretary-General made the comments on Sunday while on a visit to Pakistan.
Reacting to the UN chief’s remarks, India said the real issue needed to addressed is to vacate territories "illegally and forcibly" occupied by Pakistan.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Jammu and Kashmir is and will continue to be an integral part of India and hoped that the UN Secretary General would press Pakistan to take credible and irreversible action to stop cross-border terrorism against India.
"India's position has not changed. Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan," Kumar said.
"Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation.
"We hope the UN Secretary General would emphasize on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right - the right to life - of the people of India, including in J&K," the MEA spokesperson added.
Guterres is in Pakistan a four-day visit.
Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, the UN chief said he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control.
Guterres said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate "militarily and verbally" and exercise "maximum restraint" on the Kashmir issue. He also offered to help both countries in resolving the matter.
"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," Guterres said.
He said he had "repeatedly stressed on the importance of exercising maximum restraint".
"I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation," he said.
The UN chief arrived in Pakistan on Sunday. He met Afghan refugees and will visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib during his visit.
My first meeting in Pakistan: generations of Afghan refugees shared their deeply moving stories, hopes & dreams.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 16, 2020
For 40 years, Pakistan has sheltered Afghan refugees. I urge the world to support host countries and show similar leadership in standing #WithRefugees. pic.twitter.com/rc4e75qNw9
I’m launching an urgent global call for #ClimateAction in Pakistan, one of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 16, 2020
We need far more ambition. Major emitting countries must lead the way.
We are in a battle for our lives. https://t.co/Gd6FgCNDaL pic.twitter.com/7Es2j4mIbL
Ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have strained after India’s abolished special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and even downgraded its diplomatic ties with India by expelling the Indian High Commissioner.
Islamabad has been trying to garner international support against India on the issue, but has failed so far.