Islamabad welcomes Putin’s Kashmir mediation offer, Delhi dismisses report

Irshad Salim — Pakistan on Thursday said it would welcome Russian mediation to defuse tensions with its eastern neighbor India as well as to resolve the longstanding Kashmir territorial dispute.

Earlier, Pakistan welcomed China, US, Turkey, Iran and OIC offers to mediate between the two warring neighbors on the Himalayan region considered a nuclear flashpoint and lately a geopolitical determinant for regional peace.

New Delhi however is said to have rejected the report, according to India media outlets, dismissing reports in Pakistani media about Putin’s offer to mediate on the unfinished agenda of Indian subcontinent’s partitioning in 1947 which gave birth to independent Pakistan.

“No offer of mediation between India and Pakistan was made by Russia to India,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, according to a local Indian daily.

“It is my understanding that Russia is very well aware of India’s consistent position to address all outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally in an environment free of terrorism and violence,” he added.

Pakistan’s FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday said there was growing realization and concern among regional countries as well as the United States of the threat to peace in the region due to India’s unprovoked firing along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

“The Indian attempts to distract the world attention from the brutalities its occupation forces have unleashed on unarmed Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir have endangered peace and security in the sub-continent and beyond,” he said.

Besides Russia and the U.S., China, Turkey and Iran have also made similar mediation offers between the two warring neighbors. While Pakistan has welcomed such third party mediation on Kashmir, India continues to spurn the offers calling it a bilateral matter.

Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan, Zakaria said, “Pakistan welcomes UNSC Permanent Member Russia’s attention and intention to play a role in this longstanding issue on the UNSC agenda.”

Zakaria told the press that Pakistan had recently established high-level contact with Russia. Putin had said Pakistan is an important partner for Russia in South Asia.

The Russian president’s comments came during a meeting with PM Nawaz on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana.

Putin had earlier dismissed Indian fears over growing Russia-Pakistan ties, saying that although Moscow enjoyed “deep cooperation” with India, the same could not preclude ties with other countries. “This is ridiculous,” Putin was reported to have said.

He had added that it was not for him to decide whether Pakistan was fueling terrorism in India-held Kashmir — an allegation India has repeatedly made.

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