UN chief Antonio Guterres has said he is engaged in bringing about a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through his meetings with the prime ministers of the two countries. “Why do you think I met three times the Prime Minister of Pakistan and two times the Prime Minister of India,” Guterres said with a laughter, responding to a question during a press briefing here whether he is engaged in bringing about dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute. “For someone accused of doing nothing, it is quite a number of meetings,” the Secretary General said, referring to criticism that he has been shying away and is reluctant to act to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
Guterres, addressing reporters at his first press conference at the world body’s headquarters since assuming office in January, was asked about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and the ceasefire violations since he assumed office. Guterres did not elaborate further but through his response he did not make any indication that he will act as a mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Modi and Guterres had met in St Petersburg earlier in June on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. During the meeting, Modi had stressed on multilateralism to address global challenges such as terrorism. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the UN chief had met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos in January and again this month in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked at press briefings about the Secretary General’s response to the situation in Kashmir, has repeatedly said that Guterres is following the situation in the region closely.
The UN Chief has not made any direct intervention to resolve the issue, reiterating his call for India and Pakistan to find a peaceful solution through engagement and dialogue. Pakistan continuously raises the Kashmir issue at the UN seeking the world body’s intervention in the dispute with India. But New Delhi has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue with Islamabad.