We have no doubt about India's approach to Kashmir: Russian ambassador

NEW DELHI: Russia is not anxious to know what is happening in Kashmir and those who have doubts about New Delhi's policy for the region and the situation in the Valley can visit it, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said on Friday.

His statement came during a press conference when asked why he was not part of a group of 15 foreign envoys, including the US ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, who visited Jammu and Kashmir last week.

In China's failed attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, the Russian envoy said Moscow has never been in favor of bringing it to the global body, as it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan .

In the visit of envoys to Jammu and Kashmir, he said that Russia was not interested in knowing what was happening in the territory of the Union, since it has no doubt about India's approach to the region.

I don't think there is a reason to travel there. India's decision on J&K is an internal matter that belonged to the constitutional space of India.

It is not a problem in our bilateral relations. Those who believe it is a problem, those who are concerned about the situation in Kashmir, those who have doubts about Indian politics in Kashmir may travel to Kashmir. They could see for themselves. We never had any doubt, he said.

At the same time, Kudashev said he did not receive an official invitation for the trip.

My opinion is that the Russian ambassador to India should not be associated with any kind of activities that could call into question India's internal policies. This is not our habit, he said.

The government had taken a group of 15 envoys to J&K to help them see for themselves the situation in the territory of the union. The envoys interacted with selected political representatives, members of civil society and security officials.

When asked if he would like to visit Kashmir if he was invited, he replied with a lighter vein: Yes, he would.

In August, India announced the withdrawal of the special powers of J&K and the fork of the state in two territories of the union. Pakistan reacted sharply to the measure and even reduced diplomatic engagement with India by expelling its envoy.

Pakistan organized a major diplomatic offensive against India for its decision on Kashmir. India also approached the main countries to explain the fundamentals of the measure.

Kudashev also said that the Foreign Minister will visit Russia on March 22 and 23 to attend a meeting of the Russia-India-China trilateral.

In China's attempt to raise the Kashmir problem at the UN Security Council, the Russian envoy said he has never been supporting such an action.

We have never been in favor of including this issue on the UN agenda, as it is strictly a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan to discuss based on the statements of Shimla and Lahore. It is not a topic that is debated in the UNSC. he said.

China, an all-weather ally of Pakistan, made a new attempt to raise the Kashmir problem at an informal meeting behind the UNSC in New York. However, the attempt was stalled by an overwhelming majority of member nations.

This is the third time that China demands a discussion on the topic of Kashmir.

In August, he pressed for a UNSC meeting in Kashmir after the government eliminated the special state of J&K. However, the meeting did not yield the desired results for China, as member states argued that India's measure was an internal problem.

Last month, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia had thwarted an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir in a closed meeting of the UNSC.

China has criticized the reorganization of J&K in India, and has particularly criticized New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China claims several parts of Ladakh.