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MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup

India on Thursday criticized Pakistan for “needlessly internationalising” the Kashmir issue while asserting that the main cause of tension between the two countries was externally sponsored terrorism was the central issue.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said Pakistan needs to end its illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and stop interfering in India’s internal matters.

“We completely reject the insinuations by the vested interests against India which has rightful sovereignty over the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. We also stress that there are no global dimensions of the Kashmir issue except in the minds of those who seek to needlessly internationalise a bilateral matter.

“Pakistan needs to vacate its illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and address the suffering caused to millions in those parts,” he said.

He was asked to comment on a conference in Islamabad organised to discuss global dimension of Kashmir issue.

When asked about Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain’s comments yesterday that India was “running away” from talks, Swarup said, “The main cause for lack of peace and continued instability in our region is externally sponsored terrorism and Pakistan’s repeated interference in internal affairs of India.”

Hussain had said despite Pakistan’s offer of joint-probe in the Pathankot terror attack, India was avoiding the talks.

He had also raked up the Kashmir issue, calling it an “unfinished agenda of partition” and the main cause of regional tension.

Asked about Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan’s comments that his country has the capability to hit New Delhi in five minutes, the MEA spokesperson did not give a direct
reply, saying the Pakistani envoy in India has already said that only “foolish” people make such remarks.

Replying to a question on China occupying parts of Kashmir, the MEA spokesperson said it is part of talks on boundary issue between the two countries.

Asked about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Swarup said India has asked both the countries to cease activities there.

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