India rebuts Zardari remarks, says Kashmiri people have peacefully chosen their destiny

Asif Ali Zardari

India has rebutted Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's remarks on Kashmir at the United Nations, asserting that the Kashmiri people have "peacefully chosen their destiny" in accordance with democratic practices.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the country's position on the issue is well known.

"We have seen the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the statement of the Pakistan president. Our principled position on the issue has been consistent and is well known," he said yesterday when asked to comment on Zardari's remarks.

"The people of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, have peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with democratic practices. They continue to do so," he said yesterday.

Pakistan had raked up the issue of Kashmir at the UN again when Zardari said in his address to the General Assembly that "Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN system."

Zardari had said his country's principled position on territorial disputes remains a bedrock of its foreign policy and that resolution of the Kashmir issue can only be arrived in an environment of cooperation.

Pakistan has raked up the issue of Kashmir at the UN forum time and again but India has insisted that it is its internal matter.

US President Barack Obama has also ruled out any "outside" solution to the Kashmir issue, saying in an interview in July that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves.

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