India says Kashmir a bilateral issue


NEW DELHI: India said on Saturday that Pakistan should not internationalise the Kashmir dispute as it was a bilateral issue, The Indian Express said. There was no explanation, however, as to how the statement matched with New Delhi’s recent stand that it would only hold dialogue with Pakistan on terrorism, not Kashmir.

“As far as Kashmir issue is concerned, Pakistan mustn’t internationalise it. It is a bilateral issue,” the paper quoted Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar as telling ANI news agency.

“It is Pakistan’s individual right if it wants its MPs to go for free tourism.”

There is an observation by analysts that Mr Akbar’s comments were made ahead of a visit to New Delhi next week by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

He spoke after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to appoint 20 special envoys to raise the Kashmir issue at the international level, including the United Nations.

Simultaneously, a meeting took place between India-held Jammu and Kashmir’s chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their first since the killing of a young militant by the security forces on July 8 set the Valley on fire.

Mr Akbar’s comments also followed a statement by the Hurriyat Conference that it was willing to hold a dialogue with New Delhi but without any preconditions.

Ms Mufti’s “three-pronged action plan” she cleared with Mr Modi included a dialogue with all stakeholders, reportedly including Pakistan, to restore peace in the Valley where turmoil has left at least 68 people dead, mainly in firing by the security forces.

After the hour-long meeting, Ms Mufti was quoted as telling reporters that Mr Modi was “very concerned” about the situation and had asked for steps to end this “bloodshed” so that peace could return to the Valley.

Appealing to protesters to help her resolve the crisis, the chief minister said: “Please give me one chance to address your concerns and aspirations.”

She also targeted Pakistan, saying it should stop supporting the people who were instigating the youth in the Valley to carry out attacks on police stations or army camps.

Her proposal, however, includes involvement of Pakistan, in substantive dialogue to work out a solution to the problem in light of the contemporary geo-political realities.


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