Press Trust of india

Strong demarche served on Turkey over Erdogan’s Kashmir comments

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New Delhi, Feb 17: India on Monday issued a strong demarche to Turkey over its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments expressing concern over the prevailing situation in Kashmir and comparing the “struggle” of Kashmiri people with that of the fight by the Turkish during the World War I.

In a strongly worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Erdogan’s remarks reflected neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy and that they will have strong implications on India’s ties with Turkey.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India rejected the repeated attempts by Turkey to “justify the cross-border terrorism practised so blatantly by Pakistan”.

In an address to a joint session of Pakistan’s Parliament on Friday, Erdogan compared the “struggle” of Kashmiri people with that of the fight by Turkish people against foreign domination during the World War I, and threw his weight behind Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

“India has made a strong demarche with the Turkish government on the remarks made by President Erdogan on the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir during his recent visit to Islamabad. These remarks reflect neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy,” Kumar said in a statement.

He said the Turkish President’s remarks “distorted” events of the past to advance a “narrow minded” view of the present.

“This recent episode is but one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. India finds that completely unacceptable,” Kumar said.

The demarche was made by Secretary (West) Vikash Swarup to the Ambassador of Turkey.

India rejects UN chief’s mediation offer

New Delhi, Feb 17: India on Sunday evening flatly rejected UN chief Antonio Guterres’s offer of mediation on Kashmir and said the real issue needed to addressed is to vacate territories “illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan”.

The assertion by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came after Guterres said in Islamabad that he was concerned over the situation in Kashmir, and that he was ready to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the long-pending issue.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Jammu and Kashmir is and will continue to be an integral part of India and hoped that the UN secretary general would press Pakistan to take credible and irreversible action to stop “cross-border terrorism” against India.

“India’s position has not changed. Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan,” Kumar said.

“Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation,” he said.

Guterres is currently undertaking a four-day visit to Pakistan.

“We hope the UN secretary general would emphasize on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right – the right to life – of the people of India, including in J&K,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, the UN Secretary General said he was “deeply concerned” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and tensions along the Line of Control.

Guterres said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate “militarily and verbally” and exercise “maximum restraint” on the Kashmir issue.

He said he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation.

“Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council,” Guterres said.

The UN chief said he had “repeatedly stressed on the importance of exercising maximum restraint”.

“I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation,” he said.

Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Sunday and during his visit will attend an international conference on Afghan refugees and visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

In August last year, India announced its decision to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and even downgraded its diplomatic ties with India by expelling the Indian High Commissioner.

Islamabad also tried to rally international support against India on the issue.

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