A day after the Union External affairs ministry ruled out speculations over the possibility of meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, the Central government clarified that India will definitely respond if Pakistan raises Kashmir issue at UN General Assembly. Both the leaders will be participating in a historic annual session of the world body celebrating 70 years of its formations.
“When a statement comes from him, then we will reply,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup has told the press at New York when asked whether India will respond if Sharif raises the Kashmir issue at the UNGA starting September 25.
The MEA spokesperson also added that India is “fully prepared” to deal with any kind of situation, in case Pakistan attempts to “internationalise” the issue by raising it at the UN.
Union External Affairs ministry was reacting to the reports the Pakistan may bring up Kashmir issue at the UN, given the importance this subject has attracted in the domestic politics. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 30.
Last year too, Sharif had raked up Kashmir issue at the UN, evoking strong reaction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who protested to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying that raising bilateral issues on such a platform was not the way to resolve them.
Incidentally, just on Wednesday, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup had allayed speculations over the possibility of Modi-Nawaz bilateral meet on the sidelines of UNGA. The speculations got a further fillip after the reports that both the leaders will be staying in the same hotel – Waldorf Astoria, in New York.
“As of now there is nothing, no bilateral meeting on the schedule,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had told the press at New York.
“There will be no deliberate attempt (at paths not crossing). If a hand shake happens, you will get to see it. If a pull aside happens you will get to see it,” he had said when asked if there will be a “deliberate attempt” to ensure that paths of the two leaders do not cross.
On its part, however, the United Nations said that they have always encouraged a dialogue between the two nations.
“The Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) has always encouraged India and Pakistan to have a dialogue, and he has welcomed it when it has happened between various officials, and it is always an issue that he brings up in his various meetings with the Pakistani leadership and with the Indian leadership,” Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told the press pack on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Pakistan lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council about India’s plans to construct a wall along the LoC. The Pakistan authorities move to go to UN over the issue has led to a strong reaction from the Union government, which said that they will “respond” to this at the “appropriate time”.
(With inputs from the PTI)