NEW DELHI – Reacting to UN chief Antonio Guterres’s comments on Jammu and Kashmir, India on Sunday said the region is and will continue to be an integral part of the country and that the issue needed to be addressed is of vacation of territories “illegally and forcibly” occupied by Pakistan.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said there was no role or scope for any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.
His response came after UN Secretary General Guterres’s comment expressing concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Guterres, who is on a visit to Pakistan, said he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation.
“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.
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.
The UN chief during his visit to Pakistan will attend an international conference on Afghan refugees and visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
“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 told reporters.
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 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.