World Bulletin / News Desk
Foreign affairs adviser, Sartaj Aziz, released a statement supportive of a “multilateral approach to settle the Jammu and Kashmir dispute with an immediate end to bloodshed in Indian-occupied Kashmir”.
Ahead of the Turkish leader’s arrival in New Delhi earlier this week for a two-day visit, Erdogan in an interview described both India and Pakistan as friends of Turkey and said he wanted to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
Aziz on Tuesday said Pakistan had always welcomed statements and endeavors aimed at addressing human rights issues in Indian-held Kashmir and the resolution of the dispute.
“In this context, the Indian counter proposal that it is ready for bilateral dialogue with Pakistan is no longer credible because in the past two decades India has scuttled all opportunities for a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN Security Council’s relevant resolutions on Kashmir,” he added.
According to Indian media, New Delhi has “tacitly” rejected Erdogan’s offer, asserting that a solution to Kashmir can only be found through bilateral talks with Islamabad.
“The Kashmir issue has a prominent dimension of cross-border terrorism that needs to be stopped by those who are perpetuating it,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times on Monday, without naming Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.