South Asia

India and Pakistan spar over Kashmir

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart SM Krishna
Image caption Relations between the two nuclear neighbours were severely damaged by the Mumbai attacks

India has sharply criticised remarks made by Pakistan's foreign minister in relation to the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday, at a meeting of foreign ministers, that countries should ask India to "end its repression in Kashmir".

India Foreign Minister SM Krishna said the remarks were "unacceptable".

Over 100 people have died in anti-Indian protests in Kashmir since they erupted back in June.

"I am genuinely disappointed over the unacceptable references made by the Pakistani foreign minister in his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)," Mr Krishna said.

He accused Pakistan of trying to "deflect attention" to its problems by using "Kashmir as a ploy".

Image caption Both countries say that they are eager to talk

Mr Krishna later told the UNGA that Indian-administered Kashmir was a target of Pakistan-sponsored militancy.

"Pakistan must fulfill its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism directed against India," Mr Krishna said.

Speaking at the UNGA, Mr Qureshi said the Kashmir dispute was about "the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices".

He added: "Pakistan reaffirms its complete solidarity with the Kashmiri people, and urges the international community to persuade India to end its repression in Kashmir."

India has distanced itself from the UN resolutions in the past on a settlement to the problem through a plebiscite.

But Mr Krishna did invite Mr Qureshi to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, leaving the door open for possible talks.

Mr Qureshi, meanwhile, said Islamabad was willing to talk India on an all outstanding issues on Kashmir.

Last week, the Indian government announced a range of measures designed to defuse tension in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since an armed revolt erupted in 1989.

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