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No scope of third party vis-a-vis Pakistan: India

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) A day after Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq met Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit here, India on Monday made it clear that there was no place for any third party while dealing with issues with Islamabad.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the only way forward vis-a-vis Pakistan was a peaceful bilateral dialogue.

He was answering a query about remarks of Basit in which the Pakistan envoy apparently said the Indian government was not objecting to his meetings with Hurriyat leaders.

Basit on Sunday met Farooq, the leader of moderate section of Hurriyat. He earlier met Hurriyat hardline leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Speaking on the sidelines of Pakistan national day event here, Basit on Monday urged the media not to make issue of a non-issue.

However, Akbaruddin said there should be no scope of misunderstanding about India’s stance on resolving outstanding issues with Pakistan.

“Having repeated it on so many occasions, there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India’s position on the role of the so-called Hurriyat,” he said.

Akbaruddin said there were only two parties on India-Pakistan issues and there was no place for a third party.

“The only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration,” he said.

Hurriyat Conference leaders and some other separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir are expected to attend the Pakistan Day function on Monday evening.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said Pakistan can call whoever it wants on its national day.

Last year, India called off foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan after the Pakistani envoy here met Kashmiri separatist leaders, ignoring India’s request not to do so.

–Indo-Asian News service
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