‘J&K India’s, focus on vacating PoK’

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/17/2020 9:27:25 AM Front Page

India rejects offer of mediation on tensions with Pak made by UN chief from Islamabad

JAMMU: India on Sunday strongly rejected the mediation offered by UN chief Antonio Guterres on the tensions with Pakistan on Kashmir issue, and asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is and will continue to be an integral part of the country.
“The issue needed to be addressed is of vacation of territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs reacted to the UN Secretary General Guterres's comments which he made from Islamabad.
Guterres, who is on a visit to Pakistan, expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation.
Reacting to his statement, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said there was no role or scope for any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.
"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," the external affairs ministry spokesperson said.
"Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation," Kumar said.
He said India hoped that the UN secretary general would stress 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.
Earlier in the day, Guterres said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate "militarily and verbally" and exercise "maximum restraint" as he began his four-day visit to the country on Sunday, amidst tense relationship between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the UN secretary general said he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control.
He emphasised the importance to "de-escalate, both militarily and verbally" while talking about relations between Pakistan and India.
Guterres said he had "repeatedly stressed 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.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has defended its move, saying the special status provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The country took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism and terrorism to that state," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in October last year.
The UN chief said that the issue of Kashmir should be resolved according to UN resolution.
"UNMOGIP (UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) should be given free access. It is already there on the Pakistan side, and it should also be given on the other side," he said.
"We have taken a position that UN resolutions (on Kashmir) should be implemented, there should be ceasefire (on LoC) and human rights should be respected," he said.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the LoC.
India has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally.
In August last year, Prime Minister Modi categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and "we don't want to bother any third country".

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