Venkatesh Varma, the Indian Ambassador to Russia (Image source: Embassy of India, Moscow)
Venkatesh Varma, the Indian Ambassador to Russia (Image source: Embassy of India, Moscow)

Intermediaries not needed in resolving 'conflict' with Pak: Indian Ambassador to Russia

ANI | Updated: Mar 02, 2019 20:08 IST

Moscow [Russia], Mar 2 (ANI): Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma stated that no intermediaries were needed in resolving the "conflict" between India and Pakistan, adding that New Delhi is "always" ready for dialogue with Islamabad in an atmosphere free of terrorism.
"I want to emphasize that we did not receive a formal offer of mediation. And even if we do, we will not accept it. So far, no country has offered to mediate in resolving the conflict. And it is not a question of mediation, but whether Pakistan takes action that will create an atmosphere for the continuation of the dialogue. First of all, it must be actions against terrorist groups that are based on their territory," Varma told Russian state media, RIA Novosti.
The Indian Envoy refuted the notion that Pakistan's withdrawal of support to terrorism is a precondition for the start of negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad.
"No, it is not a precondition. This creates a necessary atmosphere so that we can negotiate with Pakistan. India's position is very clear - we are always ready for a dialogue with Pakistan in an atmosphere free from terrorism," he said.
Varma also outlined that Russia supported India's recent actions. "Russia supports, as a matter of principle, the actions of India to protect its interests when confronted with cross-border terrorism, which we face," he stated while shedding light on the fact that the question of mediation was not raised during the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The USA has expressed full support to India. Washington has clearly stated that India has all the rights for self-defence, and Pakistan must fight the terrorist groups based there. Russia's position is also very clear and unambiguous. In a conversation with the Prime Minister of India President Putin has expressed support for New Delhi, his strategic partner," Varma noted.
The Ambassador further stated that Moscow's role "may also consist in influencing Pakistan so that it does not allow terrorist groups to use its territory."
"India has clearly stated that it is not interested in an escalation of the situation," Varma stated, adding, "And the best way to achieve a normal state of affairs in the region resides in the actions of Pakistan in the fight against terrorist groups."
Varma also highlighted that India did not have plans to continue air strikes "at the moment," while answering a question put forth by RIA Novosti.
"India is not the only country that believes that Pakistan should stop supporting terrorist groups," the Indian Ambassador reinforced.
"Speaking of the terror attack that happened on February 14, the investigation is not a key issue, because the group, which is based in Pakistan, has already claimed responsibility for the attack. What else can be investigated? We do not believe that this Pakistani offer should be considered seriously," Varma highlighted during the interview. 
Lastly, the Indian Ambassador welcomed Pakistan's move to release Indian Air Force (IAF) Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman but said that "India and Pakistan are not at war, so there are no reasons to detain our pilot in Pakistan and we are very happy that he returned home."
The Indian diplomat's comments come in the wake of tense relations between India and Pakistan.
On February 14, a terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), claimed responsibility for the attack which has been widely condemned by the international community.
On February 26, the IAF carried out anti-terror strikes against a Jaish camp in Pakistan's Balakot, where a large number of JeM terrorists, including top commanders, were eliminated, according to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Following this, India foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, during which IAF pilot Varthaman was taken into custody by Pakistan Army when his MiG 21 fell in PoK while he was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters which had transgressed into the Indian airspace.
India used diplomatic and military pressure to ensure that Pakistan releases Varthaman unconditionally, top sources said in New Delhi. (ANI)