Kashmir a bilateral issue between India, Pakistan: Pranab (Lead)

November 9th, 2008 - 1:29 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaKolkata, Nov 8 (IANS) Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Saturday while reacting to US president-elect Barack Obama’s views on the issue.”Essentially, it has been stated that it (Kashmir) is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan,” Mukherjee said on the sidelines of a function here.

Mukherjee was responding to reporters’ queries on Obama’s interview with Joe Klein of Time magazine in which he spoke about his desire to play a more pro-active role in helping India and Pakistan resolve the six-decade old dispute.

Obama is also reportedly mulling appointment of former US president Bill Clinton as a special envoy on Kashmir.

Obama’s remarks caused disquiet in New Delhi and were seen as an attempt by the US to play an interventionist’s role on the issue.

Mukherjee said: “The (Kashmir) problem needed to be solved under the Simla agreement and the Lahore pact signed later.” The Simla agreement was signed between India and Pakistan in 1972.

The minister also referred to the series of discussions between the two nations within the framework of a composite dialogue.

He sidestepped a query on Obama being opposed to outsourcing by US companies, saying it was an internal matter of that nation.

“We will comment on it when the need arises,” he added.

Mukherjee was here to attend the curtainraiser to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit 2008 scheduled to take place in New Delhi Nov 13.

The BIMSTEC is a seven-nation bloc that acts as a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. The grouping comprises India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand.

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