Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Saturday said Iran is willing to mediate between Pakistan and India over the long standing issue of Kashmir, reported DawnNews.
“The bond we have with India and Pakistan is important to us, we hope for the best for both countries,” said Zarif.
“If Iran can be of any help to any of them, we stand ready. We are not volunteering, but we stand ready because these two neighbours are extremely important to us and we share common ideals,” said the Iranian foreign minister.
Iran has also offered its assistance in reducing the tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, added DawnNews.
Zarif added that Iran’s hopes ‘to move forward to a better relation between its very dear friends, India and Pakistan’.
The Iranian offer of mediation comes at a time when Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is in India to attend the Heart of Asia ministerial conference.
Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of the process that focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours to improve connectivity and tackle security threats.
Cross-border firing a new normal
Cross-border firing appears to have become a routine as tensions simmer between Pakistan and India following an alleged ‘surgical strike’, unrest in Kashmir and the Uri army base attack.
The Indian deputy high commissioner has been summoned to the Foreign Office several times in protest against ‘unprovoked’ Indian fire and loss of lives due to incidents of cross-border firing.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack last month. Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’ and accused Pakistan of involvement.
The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.
Following the attack, India claimed it had conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.
Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.
Pakistan and India have, most recently, locked horns over Kashmir since Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July. -DN
THE PASHTUN TIMES