New Delhi: Rejecting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's demand for US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said India will not accept this as the matter is a bilateral one agreed to between the two nations.
He expressed concern over repeated ceasefire violations at the Line of Control and hoped these do not result in any more casualties. He, however, rejected suggestions that these have led to a collapse of the truce between the two neighbours.
Khurshid also said that any US economic aid to Pakistan must not be used in a manner that is detrimental to India's security and strategic interests and hoped that Washington will keep that in mind as a “good strategic partner”.
“There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan,” he told reporters.
He said Kashmir is an integral part of India and no one should raise a question on that. “It is a waste of time for anybody no matter how eminent to be even trying to question it,” he said.
On whether the ceasefire has collapsed, he said, “I don't think that is true. There are many violations. It is a large number of small armed fires. It is unacceptable and certainly counter-productive. But I don't think we can at this point say that ceasefire has collapsed. That would not be a correct assessment of the situation.
On US economic aid to Pakistan, Khurshid said, “I hope this is done keeping India's interests in mind as United States always assures us.”
Ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama, Sharif today sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue. “Though India did not want such (third party) intervention, but the world powers should get involved to resolve the (Kashmir) issue,” he told reporters in London during a stopover while on his way to US wherein he will meet Obama on Wednesday.
Sharif said during his US visit in July 1999 amid Kargil conflict, he had clearly told then President Bill Clinton that if the US intervened, Kashmir issue could be resolved.
"I told him if he spends 10 per cent of the time he was spending on Middle East, the Kashmir issue between two countries would resolve," state-run APP news agency quoted the prime minister as saying.
Sharif will meet Obama on Wednesday.
Even though Pakistan is keen that US intervenes, Washington has repeatedly said that India and Pakistan should determine the "pace, scope and character" of their dialogue.
Sharif said India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and the region was a nuclear flash point.
He said that though India did not want such intervention, the world powers should get involved to resolve the issue. He said for the last 60
years both sides were entangled in an arms race.
"The situation can become dangerous. India has nuclear bomb, so do we; India develops missiles, so do we. There should be a limit to it. We all should think about it," he was quoted as saying.
Sharif also said he will raise the issue of US drone strikes during his meeting with Obama.
"Pakistan raised its concern in UNGA meeting, and the world appreciated it. Again in my official visit to US I will reiterate the same message," he said.
Key bilateral issues besides the Afghan drawdown and Indo-Pak ties are likely to be discussed during his keenly awaited meeting with Obama.