NEW DELHI: There has been no offer from Russia to mediate between India and Pakistan on any issue including Kashmir, the government said on Thursday, rejecting claims from Islamabad about Russia's "intention" to play a role in this longstanding issue.
The rebuttal came hours after Pakistan's Foreign Officer, responding to a question on Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Asthana summit, appeared to confirm local media reports that such an offer had been made by Russia at the bilateral meeting with PM Nawaz Sharif. "Pakistan welcomes "Russia's attention and intention" to play a role in this longstanding issue on the UN Security Council agenda," Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.
But New Delhi quickly has rubbished the claim.
"It is my understanding that Russia is very well aware of "India's consistent position to address all outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally" and "in an environment free of terrorism and violence", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in the national capital.
Officials also pointed to the joint declaration issued after PM Narendra Modi's meeting with Mr Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, officials that called upon all countries and entities to "disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and "stop cross-border movement of terrorists".
Russian Government sources also distanced themselves from the Pakistani claim, saying they weren't aware of any statement by President Putin offering to mediate.
India had halted dialogue with Islamabad after its western neighbour refused to deliver on its promise to stop cross-border terrorism emanating from its soil. Earlier this month, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had detailed how Pakistani agencies were trying to create terror in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
But New Delhi has been careful to make sure that the differences do not spill over into the SCO; India and Pakistan were formally inducted as members at the Kazakhstan capital Astana this month.
Pakistan's close ally, China today dismissed apprehensions that differences between the two south Asian neighbours could disrupt the unity of the SCO grouping, saying its charter strictly prohibits members to bring their bilateral hostility into the organisation.
"In the charter of the SCO there is a clause that the hostility between the bilateral relations should not be brought to the organisation. I believe both the countries will abide by the charter of the organisation," China's Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said on Thursday, according to a Press Trust of India report.