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India rejects Sharif’s demand for US intervention on Kashmir

Rejecting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s demand for US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday 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 a private news channel.

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 on Sunday 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. ‘India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and the region was a nuclear flash point,’ he said.

About Sharif’s comments on nuclear weapons, Khurshid said, ‘This is not new. We should concentrate on the important thing that the elements of dialogue that have been obstructed, that have been undermined and slowed down because of the events that have happened at the Line of Control on the border.’

Sharif 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.
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