India dismissed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's suggestion of multilateral talks on the Kashmir dispute on Monday, insisting that a solution to the issue can only be found through bilateral talks with Pakistan.
Erdogan, in an interview to an Indian TV channel in Ankara ahead of his visit to India, had urged Pakistan and India to settle the Kashmir dispute “once and for all”. He had also suggested that the two countries needed to “strengthen multilateral dialogue” to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute.
Calling the Kashmir issue an Indo-Pak bilateral matter, “essentially due to cross-border terrorism”, New Delhi virtually rejected Erdogan’s suggestion, during the course of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India’s position on Kashmir was clear and publicly known.
“We conveyed our viewpoint clearly on terrorism and Kashmir [to the Turkish side]. It was made clear that there cannot be any justification for terrorism, whatever is the intent. We clearly conveyed that the issue of Kashmir is essentially an issue of terrorism,” Indian media quoted the official as saying.
Erdogan and Modi had a “detailed discussion” on terrorism, with the two leaders agreeing there could be no justification for terrorism wherever it is committed. The two also urged all countries to disrupt terrorism networks and financing and “stop cross-border movements of terrorists”, Baglay said.
Prior to his visit, Erdogan had expressed concern at the continuing stand-off between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, stating: “We should not allow more casualties to occur, and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved, and through multilateral dialogue, I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all."