India won’t accept third party meditation on Kashmir: Jaishankar

File photo of Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.

Washington:  Categorically rejecting any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said India’s stand has been clear for decades and the two countries can discuss the issue bilaterally.

Jaishankar arrived here on Sunday night from New York after attending the annual General Assembly session of the United Nations along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, the two leaders held bilateral meetings with dozens of world leaders.

“India has been clear for 40 odd years that we would not accept mediation… and that whatever has to be discussed has to be discussed bilaterally,” Jaishankar told a group of Indian reporters today when asked about US President Donald Trump’s mediation remarks on Kashmir.

Trump in the recent past has offered mediation between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
“I’m clearing in my mind as far as I’m concerned. That’s what it’s about. My point is very simple. Whose issue (is this?). Mine. Who has to take the call? Me. If it is my issue and I have to take the call; I will decide whether I want somebody’s mediation or not. You can offer anything you like, but if I decide it is not relevant to me then it does not happen,” Jaishankar said.

“I am very clear in my mind. When people speak of it has gone up and down, where has it gone up and down? India has been very clear about it,” he said when asked about the frequent offer of mediation by President Trump.
The External Affairs Minister said in half of his meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, the issue of recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir popped up.

“In terms of (issue of) Article 370, I would find it hard to quantify, but I would say may be in about half my meetings it came up and may be in half of my meetings it didn’t come up. It wasn’t that every guy who came to me came with that burning question,” he said.

Frankly, most of them were focused on the bilateral relations, he said, adding that even those who raised it, it was not necessarily the first issue of interest to them.