Only Pakistan, India stakeholders on Jammu Kashmir: external affairs ministry

*Akbaruddin asks Pakistan to respect Simla Agreement, Lahore Declaration *Basit calls Kashmiris legitimate stakeholders in finding a peaceful solution

NEW DELHI – Just hours after Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit defended his meeting with Kashmiri leadership in New Delhi, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that there are only two stakeholders on Jammu Kashmir – Pakistan and India, asking Islamabad to respect past accords on truce.

“After 1972 and the signing of the Simla Agreement by the prime ministers of Pakistan and India, there are only two 'stakeholders' on the issue of Jammu Kashmir – the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Union of India. This is a principle which is the bedrock of our bilateral relations. This was reaffirmed in the Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” said a statement issued by the ministry.

“Pakistan assured us, at the highest level, that they were committed to a peaceful dialogue on the issue of Jammu Kashmir and would not allow Pakistan or territories under its control to be used for terrorism against us... We know now that this assurance had no meaning and that an approach that is different to the one laid down by the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration does not yield results,” the statement said.

On his twitter message, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that Pakistan and India were the only two stakeholders on the issue of Jammu Kashmir and ‘none else’ following the Simla Agreement of 1972. In an interaction at the Foreign Correspondents Club, Abdul Basit said that his meeting with the Hurriyat leaders was to find a viable solution to the Kashmir issue.

“It was in the larger context of exploring peaceful means towards resolving the issue. This has been a long standing practice, I have nothing more to add to this,” Basit said. “Kashmiris are legitimate stakeholders in finding a peaceful solution to the issue. We had been meeting Kashmiri leaders for past 20 years. The objective of this interaction is to engage all stakeholders in order to find a viable, peaceful solution to the problem," he said.

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