Published On: Thu, Jul 13th, 2017

India snubs China on Kashmir mediation offer, to hold all-party meeting

New Delhi: Rebuffing China’s offer, India on Thursday ruled out any third party mediation on Kashmir about which it is ready to talk to Pakistan at a bilateral level as terrorism is at the core of the problem between the two countries.

You are all aware of the fact that at the heart of the matter is the issue of terrorism perpetrated on India

Reacting to the Chinese Foreign Office spokesperson’s remarks that China was ready to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said cross-border terrorism was at the heart of the issues between New Delhi and Islamabad.

“Our stand is absolutely clear. You are all aware of the fact that at the heart of the matter is the issue of terrorism perpetrated on India, including on the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. So, the matter is that cross-border terrorism in our region emanating from a particular force is threatening the peace and stability in not only India but other neighbours and also the entire region and the world,” Baglay said in his weekly media briefing.

“As far as the Kashmir issue is concerned, you know that the government’s position has been very consistent and clear. We are ready, we have been ready to have dialogue with Pakistan… That position of addressing all the issues with Pakistan, including Jammu and Kashmir, in a bilateral framework has not changed.”

The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday offered to play a “constructive role” in improving India-Pakistan ties over Kashmir where the “situation has attracted the attention of the international community”.

Baglay also rubbished Pakistan media reports hinting at use of chemical weapons in Kashmir.

“The claims are completely baseless and incorrect. India is against the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world.”

He said it was “quite surprising” to see what the government of Pakistan was talking about and reading from the terror script of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“They have taken a leaf out of the book of Lashkar-e-Taiba on those ridiculous comments. The government is taking its cue from an internationally banned terrorist organisation,” he added.

Meanwhile, ahead of Parliament’s Monsoon Session, the government has called leaders of opposition parties on Friday for a briefing on the India-China standoff in Doklam in Sikkim sector, as also the Kashmir situation in the wake of killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh will brief the opposition in the meeting, to be held at the latter’s residence. The meeting is primarily aimed at taking the opposition leaders into confidence on both issues ahead of the Parliament session which commences on July 17.

The standoff between India and China in the Doklam Plateau, adjoining the tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan, is now a month old, with no end to it yet in sight.

Sources said the government also wants to discuss in the meeting the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which has witnessed a spate of violence following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July last year.

However, the opposition, which has been severely critical of the Narendra Modi government over deteriorating law and order situation in Kashmir, did not appear keen to discuss the Kashmir issue outside Parliament.

“Yes, we will attend the meeting. The meeting will only be on the developments on the India-China-Bhutan borders. Doklam is a matter of great concern. Hope the government apprises us what is its assessment and how it proposes to address the crisis,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Asked if the Kashmir situation will also be discussed in the meeting, Sharma said: “I am not going to discuss this because the meeting is for a specific purpose. We have Parliament as a forum to raise matters. As the session begins, this will be raised in Parliament.”

Janata Dal United (JD-U) Spokesman KC Tyagi, too, confirmed that his party would attend the meeting but refused to comment on the agenda.


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