Need to address illegal occupation of territories by Pakistan: India reacts to UNSG’s Kashmir comment

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Srinagar: India on Sunday rejected an offer of mediation proposed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Kashmir, saying the focus instead should be on getting vacated the territories that are “illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan”.

“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. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a media query regarding comments made by Guterres in Islamabad.

“We hope the UN Secretary-General would emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take a 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,” he added. The UN chief, who arrived in Pakistan on a four-day visit, addressed a press conference along with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, wherein he also expressed his “deep concern” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control (LoC).

Guterres also said that it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint”, amidst tense relationship between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.”I have offered my good offices in relation to the dispute. He further noted that he exchanged thoughts with Qureshi on the security situation in South Asia and that mediation, as well as talks, were the only solution to regional conflicts,” the Secretary-General said.Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August last year.

India”s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties with India.However, India has defended its move, saying that the special status provisions were revoked in order to bring development in the region and reduce cross-border terrorism.A proposal of mediation was also offered last year by US President Donald Trump in the presence of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan at a joint press conference during the latter’s visit to Washington in July.

Meanwhile, during his meeting with the president, a day after Trump held bilateral talks with Khan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is not shying away from talks with Pakistan and has urged it to take concrete steps to tackle terrorism but they have not made any efforts to combat the menace. (Inputs from ANI)

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