Khurshid: "I don’t think we can, at this point, say ceasefire with Pakistan has collapsed"
India on Sunday bristled at Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seeking American intervention on resolving the Kashmir dispute and pointed out that this view went against its long-held position of resolving the territorial dispute through bilateral dialogue.
“It is a waste of time for anybody no matter how eminent to be even trying to question it,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
“Our position has been stated for a very long time. There is no scope of any change or accommodation at this. Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. We value it and it is a part of the sense of our identity and our sense as the nation,” he said while responding to Mr. Sharif’s suggestion made during a stopover in London while on his way to Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Mr. Khurshid drew on the provisions of the Shimla Agreement to assert that New Delhi was “comforted in our understanding” that there was “no question of any third party.”
“Something has been said and we are responding by saying that it is not acceptable. I think it is not in interest of anybody. My sense says, it is very unlikely,” he told NDTV here.
India has consistently militated against a third party intervention on resolving the Kashmir dispute, asserting that the two countries were perfectly capable of resolving the dispute on their own. It has kept the United Nations Military Group in India and Pakistan on the sidelines and argues that it has become superfluous after the Shimla Agreement, which had superseded the Karachi Agreement of 1949, under which this mission was sent to both sides of the border.
On the U.S. releasing aid for Pakistan ahead of Mr. Sharif’s arrival for a three-day visit, the Foreign Minister appreciated American sensitivity to India’s concerns and hoped it would continue to do so. “I hope this is done keeping India’s interests in mind as the United States always assures us … it is used against terrorism in and around border areas of Pakistan and it must not be directed against us,” he elaborated.
Despite this blip, Mr. Khurshid felt the future of India-Pakistan ties depended on Islamabad being accountable of what happened in Mumbai and sustained effort in improving relations in other spheres.
The Minister did not think the eight-year-old ceasefire on the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line had collapsed due to a rash of violations claimed by both sides. He pointed out that though violence was unacceptable and counter-productive, it was basically small arms fire. “I don’t think we can, at this point, say that ceasefire has collapsed. That would not be a correct assessment of the situation.”
On Twitter, Indian partisans found this an apt opportunity to get back after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reportedly compared to a Dehati Burhiya (old village woman) for drawing attention to Pakistan’s support for militancy in J&K. “And there he goes complaining to the class monitor. Sissy,” tweeted Kaveri, while Sudheendra Kulkarni found Mr. Sharif’ appeal odd.
“A strange paradox. Most Pakistanis hate U.S. role in global affairs. Yet their leaders want U.S. intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue,” he tweeted.