Kashmir is a bilateral issue, says MEA
- Disapproves US involvement
- Prefers two-way street to promote peaceful ties
- PM’s SAARC schedule is yet to be finalised
New Delhi, November 23: Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s request to US President Barack Obama to take up the Kashmir issue with the Indian leadership during his visit to India in January next year; the external affairs ministry said that the Kashmir issue can only be discussed under the framework for dialogue agreed with Pakistan. MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that there is a simple two-way street to promote peaceful ties between the two neighbours, which is meaningful bilateral dialogue. “The framework for achieving those cooperative and peaceful ties is already specified and agreed to between our two countries as part of the Simla Agreement and reiterated much later during the Lahore declaration between (former) Prime Minister AtalBihari Vajpayee and Sharif.”
This is not the first time that Pakistan government tried to involve the US in Indo-Pak conflict. MEA spokesperson disapproved of any deviationfrom the framework, saying, “It will not lead both the countries to a common destination.” However he was non-committal when asked about any bilateral meeting that may be held between Modi and Sharif on the sidelines of the 18thSAARC summit in Kathmandu. He only said, “The Prime Minister’s intention is to have meaningful dialogue with as many of our South Asian colleagues as possible. This would mean taking into account all aspects of our relationship.”
“At this stage, the scheduling work is in progress, taking into account the schedules of various leaders and priorities. There will be substantive meetings and we will let you know once the entire architecture is ready,” he added. Meanwhile, replying to a question on whether Pakistan had sought a meeting with Modi, Akbaruddin said he was not aware of any such move.
PM Modi will leave for Kathmandu on November 25 to attend the two-day SAARC summit on November 26 and 27.