UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that he hopes the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan can be solved peacefully.
"Well, the position of the UN and the resolutions that were taken are the same, remain the same. We have, as you know, a peacekeeping operation there. We are, of course, committed," Guterres said on Friday.
"I'd offered my good offices several times, and we hope that this is something that can be solved peacefully and that the situation in Kashmir is a situation in which human rights are respected and in which people can live in peace and security," he said. Guterres was responding to a question by a Pakistani journalist on the Kashmir issue during a press conference.
New Delhi has been categorically rejecting any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, saying that India's stand has been clear for decades and the two countries can discuss the issue bilaterally. Guterres, in an August 2019 statement, had recalled the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan — the Simla Agreement.
The Simla Agreement was signed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972 and is a bilateral agreement between the countries and rejects any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue. The 1972 Simla agreement provides that the resolution of differences between the parties should be resolved by peaceful means and by bilateral negotiations.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019. The move evoked strong reaction from Pakistan. India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir "was, is and shall forever" remain an integral part of the country. New Delhi has also told Islamabad that it desires normal neighbourly relations with it in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.