NEW YORK: India would maintain a restrained posture and has no intention of indulging in a “mud-slinging match” with Pakistan over the issue of Kashmir that has recently been raised by Islamabad.
“India doesn’t think getting involved in a mud-slinging match… (it) is either necessary or desirable right now,” an Indian official said, requesting anonymity.
The official was responding to Pakistan’s frequent needling of India over the tensions in Kashmir.
During the past week, the Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Mr Shah Mahmood Qureshi has raised the question of Kashmir at several public forums in New York.
Addressing a gathering at the Asia Society, Mr Qureshi described Kashmir as the “festering sore of South Asia” and urged the US to play a facilitating role in resolution of the issue.
“The United States, as the world leader, has special responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of Kashmir,” the minister said.
The final document of the Organisation of Islamic Conference’s meeting this year, held on the sidelines of the opening week of the UN General Assembly also, “urged the international community to play its due role to settle this long standing dispute on UN agenda for the overall improvement of the relations between Pakistan and India as well as to promote regional peace and stability”.
The Foreign Minister, Mr S M Krishna, who is also in New York to attend the UNGA session and a host of other forums, has maintained that Kashmir is a unilateral matter and rejected any interference from outside.
He, however, noted that all issues including Kashmir would be discussed when Mr Qureshi comes to Delhi for talks at a yet to be fixed date.
“Everything that they want to discuss and everything we want to discuss with them will be discussed,” he said.
Both the Indian and the Pakistani ministers are here to attend the opening week of the General Assembly.
A little exchange of words on Kashmir notwithstanding, both have underlined the need for talks as the only way forward in resolving outstanding issues.
“Today there is a realisation that a negotiated solution is the only sensible way,” Mr Qureshi said.
Krishna echoed the sentiment when he said: “India wants to keep Pakistan engaged in talks because we do not see any other alternatives… Talks are the only way to take this forward”.
A bilateral meeting between the two ministers is also on the sidelines of the UNGA.
They already had had a “chance encounter” at the UN, last week, and may also run into each other at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Commonwealth countries today.