New Delhi: India on Tuesday rebuffed a US offer to mediate between India and Pakistan stressing that New Delhi’s position on and conditions for a bilateral redressal of problems between the South Asian neighbours had not changed.
India also urged the US and the international community to lean on Pakistan to accept internationally mandated requirements that call for abandoning terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
The sharp response came after the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley overnight indicated that the US would try and “find its place" in efforts to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan and not wait till “something happens"—signalling a change from its hands-off approach to mediating between India and Pakistan. India has always opposed third-party intervention in India-Pakistan bilateral issues while Pakistan has continuously sought mediation to sort out differences over Kashmir and other disputes.
“The (Indian) government’s position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn’t changed," Gopal Baglay, spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry, said in a statement.
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“We of course expect the international community and organizations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond," he said.
India has been demanding that Pakistan rein in terrorist groups operating from its soil before entering into talks with India on disputes ranging from the sovereignty of Kashmir to strengthening trade and commercial ties.
Pakistan on its part says Kashmir is the main cause of all disputes with India and that acts of terrorism—that India says are plotted and supported by Pakistan—are carried out by “freedom fighters" who are seeking Kashmir’s independence from India. New Delhi says the insurgency in Kashmir is fomented by Pakistan.
The two countries were to resume talks last year after a three-year hiatus but a series of terrorist attacks on military installations at Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota put paid to those efforts.
The Indian government response followed comments by Haley in New York overnight Tuesday that the Trump administration was concerned about tensions between India and Pakistan, a PTI report said.
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“It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward," Haley said in an apparent change in the US stance of not engaging in India-Pakistan disputes.
Haley, a senior Indian-American member of the Trump cabinet, said she expects that the administration is going to be in talks to try and “find its place to be a part of that (de-escalating tensions)". “We don’t think, we should wait till something happens," she said.
“We very much think that we should be proactive in the way that we are seeing tensions rise and conflicts start to bubble up and so we want to see if we can be a part of that," Haley said. “So I think that will be something that you will see members of the National Security Council participate in but also wouldn’t be surprised if the President participates in that as well," she said.