New Delhi: Rejecting UN chief Antonio Guterres mediation offer on Kashmir issue, India on Sunday reiterated that the region is and will continue to be an integral part of the country and the issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories ‘illegally and forcibly’ occupied by Pakistan . Also Read - Coronavirus: In Letter to UNSC, Pakistan Highlights 'Dire Human Rights Situation' in Jammu And Kashmir
Notably, Guterres, while addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had stated that he was ‘deeply concerned’ over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation. Also Read - COVID-19: Pakistan Says Situation Under Control as Coronavirus Cases Rise to 1,526
Guterres, who was on a four-day visit to Pakistan, asserted that it was important for both the countries to de-escalate ‘militarily and verbally’ and exercise ‘maximum restraint’. Also Read - Has Pakistan PM Imran Khan Tested Positive For Coronavirus? Here's the Truth Behind the Viral Claim
Reacting to his comments, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that 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,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
“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.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained since deadly Pulwama attack on Feb 14, 2019, that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel. The rift widened after the Narendra Modi-led government abrogate Article 370 (that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir) and bifurcate the state into two union territories on August 5 last year.
Following the move, Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic ties with India by expelling the Indian High commissioner.