Dismissing the possibility of any third-party playing a role in resolving the Kashmir dispute, the United States on Wednesday reiterated that it is for India and Pakistan to determine any discussion on the issue.
The US response assumes significance in the wake of Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui’s suggesting trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Responding to a question, a State Department spokesperson made it clear that the US has not changed a policy on Kashmir.
“We believe the pace, scope and character of any discussion on Kashmir is for the two sides to determine,” he added.
Zhaohui on Monday endorsed the idea of trilateral cooperation between India, China and Pakistan under the aegis of the SCO, saying it could “in the future” help resolve bilateral issues between New Delhi and Islamabad and help maintain peace.
The Chinese envoy’s remarks came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain exchanged pleasantries following a press conference by the leaders of the SCO in Qingdao last week.
However, China on Wednesday distanced itself from its envoy’s comments saying both India and Pakistan are China’s friends and neighbours.
Pakistani leaders have repeatedly sought the US intervention in resolving the Kashmir dispute, but India has maintained that there is no room for third party mediation.
The State Department, however, refrained from making any comment on a recent report on Kashmir by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Last week, the UN released its first-ever report on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and demanded an international probe into it, evoking a sharp reaction from India which termed the document as “fallacious and motivated”.
“We are aware of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report,” the spokesperson said.
(With PTI inputs)