India remained non-committal about the possibility of a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), under way in New York.
But official sources spoke of the possibility of Pakistan raising the issue of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and India responding in kind. Given the resolutions passed on Kashmir in the Pakistan National Assembly and the Senate, the sources expected Islamabad to mention at the UNGA the ongoing violence and alleged human rights abuses.
New Delhi has already exchanged two rounds of verbal volleys in less than a week on Kashmir and did so again on Wednesday. Responding to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's musings on third party intervention [the U.S.] in Kashmir, the sources said there could be no scope for that. “There can be wishes expressed but there can be no further corollary to that,” said the sources. India's vibrant democracy, said the sources, “made available enough instruments and mechanisms to the government under the Constitution and the system to take care of any unmet aspirations of people from any part of the country,” they added.
India, they said, was well prepared for any Pakistani intervention on Kashmir when Mr. Qureshi addresses the UNGA and during External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's address to the high-level segment of the General Assembly next Wednesday. “India's position has been well articulated to all our friends and interlocutors. We are very clear in our mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and if there are any issues, they have been and can be addressed bilaterally,” observed the sources.
Mr. Krishna and Mr. Qureshi will come across each other several times at those multilateral and regional group meetings to which both countries are invited. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Foreign Ministers' meet on September 28 will afford the most closeness as it is a small club of just eight. A day earlier, the Foreign Ministers from Commonwealth countries will meet, where both are scheduled to attend. They will also be in the same room for meetings of the G-77, and Asian Cooperation Dialogue, besides some large meetings on biodiversity and disarmament. Both Ministers will also attend the social functions marking every year's UNGA such as the U.N. Secretary-General's lunch.
The sources, however, would not confirm whether both sides have sent indications for a bilateral. The situation is the same with respect to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi. Similarly, a meeting with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary-General too has not been fixed so far. Bilaterals have so far been fixed with the Foreign Ministers of France, Russia, the U.S., Bangladesh and Belgium, besides a meeting with the President of Guyana. “With all of them there is something important that will come up for discussion. We expect more bilaterals to be firmed up depending on the schedules of our Foreign Minister and other Foreign Ministers,” the sources said.