India snubs UN chief's offer to mediate in J&K

Wednesday 19th February 2020 04:38 EST

India used strong words to protest against UN secretary general Antonio Guterres who offered to facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan. Responding to the “offer” by the top UN diplomat, the MEA spokesperson said, “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.”

Insisting that India’s position “has not changed”, the spokesperson said, “UN secretary general would emphasise on the imperative for Pakistan to take 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.”

The UN secretary general’s remarks have gone down very badly within the Indian system because they were made as part of a question and answer session after Guterres’s talk in Islamabad on Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Guterres emphasised the need for protection of human rights in J&K. Although he tempered it by saying it was applicable everywhere in the world, India has taken umbrage because of where he delivered his comments and the context.

This is also not the first time Guterres has offered mediation, even though it has been perfectly clear that India would not welcome it. Guterres reportedly said both India and Pakistan should de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint”.

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