NEW DELHI - Official spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said that the government of India preferred to speak for itself.

The spokesperson replied in response to Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s statement that India had no objection to Hurriyat leaders being invited on Pakistan National Day.

The spokesperson went on to say that having repeated it on so many occasions there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India’s position on the role of the Hurriyat.

He added, “Let me reiterate there are only two parties and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues.”

He further said that the only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.

Abdul Basit said Monday that he didn’t think the Indian government had any objections to his meetings with Hurriyat leaders.

Downplaying his meetings with Hurriyat leaders which have earlier been the cause for India cancelling foreign secretary-level talks, Basit said, “Don’t try to make an issue out of a non-issue.”

He added that the primary objective at present is to achieve peace between India and Pakistan and resolve issues and that nothing can be resolved with show of might.

He further said the Indian Foreign Secretary was in Pakistan earlier this month and Pakistan looks forward to resumption of an engagement process. Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said on Monday that cross-border firing was a great challenge and he would leave no stone unturned to ensure peace at the border with Pakistan.

Speaking in the state legislative council, Mufti Sayeed said there was no violation of ceasefire from across the borders in Jammu region from 2002 to 2010.

“We have to solve the problem and ensure peace for the border residents. Border farmer is a big sufferer because his crops get damaged and lives are in danger because of cross-border firing.

“We will engage Pakistan for peace and I will ensure that peace returns to our border areas,” Sayeed said during a debate on cross-border firing on the international border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts of the Jammu region.

The chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, had met Basit on Sunday for a one-on-one meeting at the latter’s residence. The Pakistan envoy had told Farooq about Islamabad’s stand during talks held between Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishanker.

This meeting took place one month after Basit had gone to Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s residence in Delhi to update him about the talks.

Before meeting with the Pakistani high commissioner, Mirwaiz explained that his group had always been in favour of acting “as a bridge” between the two countries and coming to a last solution for the Kashmir issue in order to strengthen peace between the two neighbours.

“Both the countries have been holding talks with each other for nearly six decades but no solution has emerged,” said Farooq. “We in Hurriyat believe that we can become a platform, a bridge where the two countries can build and consolidate peace in the entire region.”