India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay has made it clear that India is, “ready to have a dialogue with Pakistan … but in a bilateral framework,” ANI reported on Thursday.
Baglay made the remarks in response to China’s offer to “play a constructive role to improve the relations between Pakistan and India,” which came on Wednesday.
According to ANI, Baglay said, “Our stand is absolutely clear as far as I recall on the remarks, which motioned that Kashmir issue is central to peace and stability. All of us know that the heart of the matter is cross-border terrorism perpetrated on India, including Jammu and Kashmir.”
“We are ready to have a dialogue with Pakistan, among other issues, but in a bilateral framework. So the [India’s] position of addressing all issues with Pakistan, including the Jammu and Kashmir issue, in a bilateral framework has not changed.”
Earlier, on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had said, “Both Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia. The conflict between the two countries along the line of control in Kashmir is neither conducive to their own stability and development nor regional peace and tranquillity.”
“China hopes relevant parties to do more to help with regional peace and stability and refrain from escalating the tension. China stands ready to play a constructive role to improve the relations between Pakistan and India,” Shuang had said in a press conference.
The remarks from both sides come amid rising border tension between India and China. Indian and Chinese troops are reportedly facing off on a section of land high in the Himalayas near what is known as the tri-junction, where Tibet, India, and Bhutan meet.
China has alleged that the Indian troops are on its soil, but both Bhutan and India say the area in question is Bhutanese territory.
India, which has a military presence in Bhutan, says its troops approached a Chinese army unit that entered the Doklam area of the Himalayan nation on June 16 and tried to build a road.
On June 27, China had accused Indian border guards of crossing into its territory from the state of Sikkim on India’s northeastern border with Tibet, complicating an already difficult relationship.
At the time Shuang had said that Indian guards “obstructed normal activities” by Chinese forces on the border and called on India to withdraw immediately.