ISLAMABAD: Pakistan dismissed as “baseless rhetoric” claims by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it was waging a “proxy war” in disputed Kashmir.
India’s Hindu nationalist leader made the remarks on Tuesday shortly before visiting Kargil, a remote area of Kashmir that was the scene of a deadly conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours in 1999.
New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of using Pakistan-based militant groups such as the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba against its forces in the divided Himalayan territory – a claim Islamabad denies.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Modi was “repeating baseless rhetoric against Pakistan”, in a statement released on Wednesday, and urged Delhi to adopt a more constructive approach.
“The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate,” the statement said, stressing Pakistan’s desire for “good neighbourly relations”.
“It would be in the larger interest of the regional peace that, instead of engaging in a blame game, the two countries should focus on resolving all issues through dialogue and work together to promote friendly and cooperative relations.”
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in full but administer separate partial areas. The neighbours have fought two of their three wars over its control.
Fighting between Indian forces and rebel groups seeking independence for Kashmir or a merger of the territory with Pakistan has killed tens of thousands since 1989, mostly civilians.
A Pakistani army incursion in the Kargil area 15 years ago triggered a conflict between the two countries that left more than 1,000 dead on both sides.
Modi’s visit came a day after Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat over a cross-border firing incident near the eastern city of Sialkot at the foot of the Kashmir hills, which the foreign ministry said killed at least one civilian. — AFP