NEW DELHI - India on Friday reacted with caution to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to engage in a comprehensive and sustained dialogue, saying it will depend on circumstances which have to be considered "thoughtfully".
"They must have sent an invite which will go to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will apply his mind. It will all depend on the circumstances which have to be considered thoughtfully," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
PM Nawaz on Wednesday invited India to engage in a "comprehensive, sustained and result-oriented" dialogue with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
"I invite India for a comprehensive, sustained and result-oriented" dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” Sharif had said while addressing a joint session of Azad Kashmir Assembly.
Noting that circumstances had led India to suspend dialogue with Pakistan, Khurshid said, "Circumstances must be befitting to be revived". Though relations have improved "undoubtedly", there is still a lot of work to be done, he said.
"I believe my colleague Anand Sharma is going to Pakistan on trade talks. Let me see what happens," Khurshid said.
Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said Kashmir is a core issue between Pakistan and India and it should be resolved as per the aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
In an interview‚ he urged the world powers to come forward and play their role in resolving the lingering issue of Kashmir.
Sartaj Aziz said the government is taking all possible steps to promote peace in the region as improvements of economic conditions are linked with it.
UN READY TO MEDIATE
Separately, a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the UN is available to mediate between Pakistan and India if the two neighbours request such assistance in resolving the Kashmir issue. "On Kashmir, (as with other conflicts around the world), our good offices are available if both sides (Pakistan and India) were to request that. And that remains the case today," Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said here.
Farhan Haq was responding to a question on whether the UN chief would propose to India to sit down and talk with Pakistan to resolve the longstanding Kashmir issue.
Among the most vital roles played by the Secretary-General is the use of his "good offices," which are steps taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
"Good offices" are employed to help bring warring parties towards peace or to prevent political and armed conflicts from escalating.
India has always ruled out any intervention by the UN in settling issues, including Kashmir, with Pakistan.
Pakistan, on the other hand has sought UN intervention and has described the UN resolutions on the issue as an "important framework" for settlement of the dispute.