Will ‘work diplomatic channels’ on Doklam: MEA
New Delhi: Administering a strong snub to China, which had raked up the Kashmir issue by offering to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad, India on Thursday said cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was at the “heart” of the matter that was threatening regional peace, adding that it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
New Delhi reiterated its position that it was always open to bilateral talks with Pakistan to resolve issues, but India’s position has also been that talks and terror cannot go together.
New Delhi also said it would continue to “work the diplomatic channels” to resolve the situation after the continuing Doklam faceoff in Bhutan between Indian and Chinese troops. New Delhi also indicated that the Doklam issue had figured in “conversation” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg last week.
India’s strong reaction came a day after the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson reportedly said that China was willing to play a “constructive role” in improving India-Pakistan ties, amid increased hostility along the Line of Control (LoC). China also said the situation in Kashmir had attracted “international” attention. The Chinese offer is being seen as an attempt to put pressure on India over Kashmir.
“At the heart of the matter is really the issue of cross-border terrorism perpetrated on India, including on the people of the state of J&K. So the matter is that cross-border terrorism in our region emanating from a particular source is threatening peace and stability in not only India but (also) other neighbours,” MEA spokesman Gopal Baglay said. As far as the Kashmir issue itself is concerned, the government’s position has been very consistent and clear, he said.
“We have been ready to have a dialogue with Pakistan ... on J&K, among other issues... in a bilateral framework. That position of addressing all issues with Pakistan, including the Kashmir issue, in a bilateral framework has not changed,” Mr Baglay said. India’s stand, however, has also been that “talks and terror cannot go together”.
He also strongly rejected allegations by Pakistan that India was using chemical weapons in Kashmir, saying India was against the use of chemical weapons anywhere by anyone in any situation.
Mr Baglay hit out at the Pakistani government for “reading” from terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s terror script in glorifying Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, who was killed by the security forces in J&K in July last year.
On the Doklam issue, the MEA indicated that it had figured in the “conversation” between Mr Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Hamburg G-20 summit last week, although it did not explicitly say so.
“I leave it to your imagination and common sense,” Mr Baglay told a reporter in response to a question on whether the issue had figured in the chat of the two leaders.