New Delhi: A day after China offered to mediate to resolve the Kashmir issue, India on Thursday snubbed the offer and asserted that it was a bilateral matter between it and Pakistan.
“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 our other neighbours as well,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay told reporters.
India’s strong reaction came a day after the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said China was willing to play a “constructive role” in improving Indo-Pak ties, especially after the increased hostility along the Line of Control (LoC). He also said the situation in Kashmir has attracted “international” attention.
Gopal said that the government has been very consistent and clear in its position on the Kashmir issue. “We have been ready to have dialogue with Pakistan among other issues, (including) J&K in a bilateral framework. That position of addressing all issues with Pakistan, including the Kashmir issue, in a bilateral framework has not changed,” he said.
He also strongly rejected allegations by Pakistan that India was using chemical weapons in Kashmir, saying India is against the use of chemical weapons anywhere by anyone in any situation.
Baglay also hit out at the Pakistan government for “reading” from Lashkar-e-Taiba’s terror script in glorifying Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, who was killed by security forces in July last year.
China’s ‘helping hand’ comes as tension continues over the standoff in Doklam near the Bhutan tri-junction. Baglay said India will continue to use diplomatic channels with China to resolve the standoff. “We have diplomatic channels available. We have embassies in both countries. Those channels will continue to be used,” Baglay said when asked about the nearly month-long standoff in Doklam.
He also referred to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks at an event in Singapore on the issue. Baglay noted that there were well-established and mutually agreed mechanisms to address differences on border issue as well as tri-junctions.
Two days ago, foreign secretary S Jaishankar had said that India and China have a history of handling border issues and there is no reason the two countries will not be able to resolve the latest standoff. “It is a long border, as you know no part of the border has been agreed upon on the ground. It is likely that from time to time there are differences,” Jaishankar said.