EU Says No To Mediating Between India And Pakistan On Kashmir
23 November 2003
New Delhi: On the eve of the crucial fourth India-EU summit here, the European Union today categorically ruled out mediating between India and Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the issue must be resolved by the two South Asian neigbours through bilateral dialogue. ' Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan with international dimensions but it has to be resolved by the two countries themselves,' senior EU officials told UNI. The political dialogue, which is a key element of upcoming two-day summit beginning on November 28, will clearly outline the EU's stand on the Kashmir issue, which may form part of the joint declaration to be issued by the two sides, they added. The summit will see concrete action on both the economic and cultural fronts, culminating in the signing of key agreements pertaining to customs and maritime cooperation as well as cooperation on strengthening regulatory bodies in India with a view to enhancing trade and investment exchanges. Another major agreement will relate to to the 'Galileo Project', which is the largest joint venture in space technology involving India, China and the EU. The India-EU Business Summit will be held on November 28 while the political segment of the interaction between the two sides will take place the next day. The EU team includes some high-profile figures like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is the current President of the grouping, EU President Romano Prodi and EU Commissioner for External Relations Xavier Solana. Terrorism, which has engulfed almost every part of the world, will be high on the political agenda of the two sides. India will highlight its concern over cross-border terrrosim emanating from Pakistan and may find greater understanding on this score from the big-wigs of the EU. The two sides are making every effort to put behind unfortunate memories of the third India-EU Summit in Copenhagen in October last year when they failed to issue a joint declaration owing to their differing perceptions on the Kashmir issue. 'Copenhagen is now behind us...perhaps not much homework was done for that summit. This time, every attempt is being made to ensure the success of the summit,' a top EU official, connected with the summit preparation, said.