NEW DELHI: India rejected on Sunday Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s suggestion for US mediation in the Kashmir dispute and Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said it would be a waste of time to question Delhi’s claim over the troubled region.
In an interview to NDTV, Mr Khurshid voiced concern over 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.
Mr 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 said.
He said Kashmir was 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.”
Press Trust of India said Mr Khurshid also got useful backing from the principal opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi said no third party had the right to interfere on the matter.
He appealed to US President Barack Obama to reject Mr Sharif's proposal, which was made during a stopover in London on his way to the US.
Ahead of his meeting with President Obama, Mr Sharif on Sunday reportedly sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.
Mr Joshi said India has already made it very clear that not just the Kashmir issue, but any matter between India and Pakistan would be solved only by the two countries, and no third party had the right to get involved.
“Nawaz Sharif’s statement on US intervention is not accepted,” he said.
Typically, the leftists too came into the frame. Terming the Kashmir matter as a bilateral issue, Communist Party of India’s National Secretary D. Raja said Islamabad should not try to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
“Why should the United States be allowed to interfere in an issue which is being dealt with between India and Pakistan?” he said.
“Pakistan government should realise this. Islamabad had earlier tried to internationalise this issue but had failed.”