Resolve Kashmir bilaterally with India: Lavrov to Pakistan

India and Pakistan should bilaterally resolve the Kashmir issue, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday. The statement came during a phone call that Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made to his Russian counterpart.

“The Russian side emphasised the need for de-escalation of tensions, and that there is no alternative to resolving differences between Pakistan and India except bilaterally through political and diplomatic means. Representatives of Russia to the UN adhere to this consistent position,” stated an official press release from the Russian government.

Pakistan has been emphasising Kashmir as an international issue and India favours to deal with it bilaterally with Pakistan and the Russian minister’s comment indicates support for the Indian stance.

The phone discussion was part of the global outreach that Islamabad is carrying out in opposition to the Indian decision to end the special status for Kashmir. This was the second time that Russia has commented on the developments regarding Kashmir since India ended special status for the region on August 5.

On August 9, responding to a question regarding Kashmir, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that the changes carried out by India were carried out within the “framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India”.

Wednesday’s comments from the Russian foreign minister is perceived as more significant even as Pakistan’s rhetoric on Kashmir intensified on the day it celebrated its independence day. Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue in his speech and accused India of “crossing all limits in total disregard of values of humanity”. Army Chief General Bajwa also referred to Kashmir and said Pakistan will remain “ready to perform” national duty for Kashmir.

Indian sources, however, indicated that they are disinclined to respond to all the comments coming from the Pakistani side as India has already stated that the change in the status of Kashmir is a strictly domestic issue without any implication for Pakistan.

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