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India rejects UN chief’s Kashmir mediation offer

  • Published at 12:25 pm February 17th, 2020
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres address a joint news conference on the eve of an International Conference on the future of 4.6 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan February 16, 2020 Reuters

Guterres called on India and Pakistan to de-escalate, both militarily and verbally

The Indian government has rejected the latest offer by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

During a visit to Pakistan, Guterres had offered his offices and was ready to help if both countries agree for mediation. 

He also expressed deep concern and called on India and Pakistan to de-escalate, both militarily and verbally.

In response to the offer, the official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday said there was no scope for third party mediation regarding the Kashmir issue.

“The issue of [Jammu and Kashmir] 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,” the spokesperson said.

Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard at a checkpoint during a one-day strike called by Jammu and Kashmir Libration Front (JKLF) to demand the return of the remains of Afzal Guru, who was executed in 2013 over the Indian parliament attack in 2001, in downtown  Srinagar on February 9, 2020 | ReutersThe spokesperson said India hopes that Guterres would emphasize on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, reports the Hindu. 

The UN Secretary-General has offered several times to mediate on the issue. 

Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, has been divided with Pakistan since independence in 1947, and has been the spark of two wars and numerous flare-ups between the two nuclear-armed foes.

An anti-India insurgency in the part of Kashmir that India administers - it has several hundred thousand troops there - has left tens of thousands of people dead over the past 30 years, most of them civilians.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and statehood, creating two federal territories on August 5, last year.

The order revoked Article 370 of India's constitution, which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defense, communications and foreign affairs.

The article also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing educational scholarships.