On Sunday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) rejected the offer of mediation on Kashmir between India and Pakistan, proposed by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The UN chief said, “I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation.”
India has been a long proponent of resolving issues bilaterally. Rejecting the third-party intervention, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India’s position has not changed. Jammu & 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.”
Kumar added that the Antonio Guterres should instead urge Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism with India that threatens the ‘right to life’ of the people of India.
The UN chief, who is on a 4-day visit to Pakistan, highlighted the need for ‘de-escalation’ and ‘restraint’ between the two countries. He also emphasised on the importance of ‘diplomacy and dialogue.’
In his press conference, Antonio Guterres said, “UNMOGIP (UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) should be given free access. It is already there on the Pakistan side, and it should also be given on the other side. We have taken a position that UN resolutions (on Kashmir) should be implemented, there should be ceasefire (on LoC) and human rights should be respected.”
The Indian MEA has asserted that there is no scope for third party mediation in the issue. New Delhi has been of the view that UNMOGIP has become redundant, post the Simla Agreement and the establishment of the LoC.
This is not the first time that India has rejected mediation offers on Kashmir with Pakistan. Last year, India rejected Donald Trump’s repeated offers to serve as the mediator. References to Kashmir made by Malaysia in the United Nations were also condemned. The MEA had also recently warned the Turkish President Erdogan for comparing the so-called “struggle of Kashmiris” to that of Turkey’s fight against foreign dominion during the First World War.