World, Asia - Pacific

‘Tensions between India, Pakistan unsustainable’

Finnish foreign minister tells New Delhi to allow UN observers, human rights experts to visit Indian-administered Kashmir

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 08.11.2019
‘Tensions between India, Pakistan unsustainable’

ANKARA

Describing tensions between India and Pakistan “unsustainable”, Finland has called for a “final settlement” of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

In an interview to India’s English language national daily The Hindu, visiting Finish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto also asked New Delhi, to allow UN observers and experts in the region and human rights to visit Kashmir.

Finland is currently holding the EU Council Presidency.

The minister said the selected EU MPs delegation that recently visited the region at the behest of the Indian government, was not multi-party and politically balanced.

“It is good if people who have expertise about the situation in this region or on human rights, freedom of the media issues etc. are involved.” he said.

His comments came in the wake of India scrapping special provisions granted to Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5 which protected the indigenous character of the people, divided between India and Pakistan.

Haavisto, during his trip held bilateral discussions with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar.

“Our meetings included very honest and in-depth discussions of the Kashmir situation. In Helsinki [Finnish capital] we had raised the question, and had been given an explanation on the government’s efforts to calm the region and fight against terrorism etc,” he added.

The Finnish minister said that during the talks, his country expressed concerns about human rights and freedom of speech and the detention of politicians in Kashmir.

“Our other message is that there must be a final settlement of the situation, as we believe the tensions between India and Pakistan are unsustainable, and they must find a way to sit down and finding a solution, but this has to be an initiative of the region,” he said.

He said that Indian government was yet to respond to his recommendations.

Finnish advice to India and Pakistan came, days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel also termed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as “unsustainable”.

India and Pakistan both hold Jammu and Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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