Putin Urges India, Pakistan to Resolve Kashmir Row

October 5, 2000 - 0:0
NEW DELHI Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called on both India and Pakistan to bend a little in resolving their protracted dispute over Kashmir, while backing New Delhi's insistence that any deal must be bilateral, AFP reported.
Addressing a special session of the Indian Parliament, Putin said Moscow backed New Delhi's stand against foreign interference in Kashmir, which has fuelled two wars and a bitter border conflict last year.
"We share your concerns about the regular outbreaks of violence there (Kashmir)," Putin said to applause.
"The fact that the Kashmir issue has remained unresolved for five decades has led to tensions between India and Pakistan." Putin said the issue "can only be resolved on a bilateral basis through compromise with absolute respect for the Line of Control (LOC) and preventing any foreign interference." The disputed LOC is the de facto border dividing Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir.
India accuses Pakistan of fomenting the Muslim secessionist campaign in Indian Kashmir which has claimed more than 34,000 lives since 1989.
New Delhi is steadfastly opposed to international mediation or a Pakistani proposal for a UN-backed referendum to determine the state's future, arguing Kashmir is its integral territory.
Putin also blamed mounting terrorist attacks worldwide on an unspecified "international terrorist community." "I would like to share absolutely trustworthy information with you. The same people are organizing terrorist attacks from the Philippines to Kosovo, including Kashmir, Afghanistan and Russia's north Caucasus.
"An international terrorist community has already been established.
We fully support the Indian proposals to create a joint front to combat terrorism," he said.
Speaking after Putin, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said India sought Russia's help in "fighting terrorism, drug-running, and drug-related militancy which ... had affected many countries of the world.
"I believe Indo-Russian friendship can help create a new world order where there will be peace, security and stability," he said.
Putin also touched briefly upon nuclear non-proliferation issues.
Russia has been encouraging New Delhi to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty since India's nuclear tests in 1998.
"We proceed from the assumption that India, while respecting its own interests, will find ways to move towards nuclear non-proliferation," Putin said.