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Russia comes out in strong support of India on Kashmir

Russia comes out in strong support of India on Kashmir

(Eds: Updating with details) New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI) Russia on Wednesday said India's withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir was its sovereign decision and an internal matter and Moscow's position on the issue is 100 per cent identical to New Delhi's stance.Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev also said that both India and Pakistan should resolve their outstanding issues through dialogue on the basis of Simla agreement and Lahore declaration."India's decision (on Jammu and Kashmir) is a sovereign decision which is as per its Constitution. It is an internal matter of India. Our position on the issue is 100 per cent identical to India's position," he said, replying to a question on the issue. Kudashev was addressing a press conference along with Deputy Chief of Russian Embassy Roman Babushkin on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Russia.The Russian envoy said India and Pakistan should resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue and on the basis of Simla agreement and Lahore declaration.Asked whether Russia, as an important player in the region, is trying to deescalate tension between India and Pakistan, Babushkin said: "We perceive the situation as a domestic situation. It is up to the Indian government to make the situation peaceful and calm for the sake of the local people."Babushkin said Russia has no role to play in disputes between India and Pakistan unless both the countries seek mediation in resolving their issues.The Deputy Chief of the Mission (DCM), when asked about the closed-door consultation on developments relating to Kashmir in the UN Security Council on August 16, said Russia maintained that it was India's internal matter.He said during the consultation, Russia also referred to the UN charter on non-interference in internal matters of any country.Earlier this month, India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, and divided the state into two union territories. Pakistan reacted angrily to the move and even downgraded diplomatic ties with India. Pakistan has been stepping up criticism of India following its decisions on Kashmir. When asked whether Russia was concerned over escalating tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, the DCM said, "It is not only Russia's concern, it is the concern of the whole international community.""India and Pakistan enjoy non-official nuclear power status. It is a matter of concern. We prefer more dialogue between the two countries," he said, adding India is a responsible nuclear player and has a no-first-use (NFU) policy.Asked about Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's recent indication that India may review the NFU, Babushkin said it is for the Indian government to deal with the issue.He also hoped that the rhetoric on the issue by both countries does not lead to escalation of tension.Asked about the situation in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir and Aksai Chin, he said Russia would welcome more dialogue on these issues. "These issues should be resolved by political will and not through any military approach," he said.On tackling terrorism, Babushkin said India and Russia were enhancing cooperation in tackling the menace. Without naming any country, he slammed those indulging in "double standards" in fight against terrorism."There are some countries which are using terrorism for political goals," he added.The Russian diplomat also said Moscow supports India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council.Asked about the US asking countries to not allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei's 5G services, the Russian diplomat said international rules established by relevant bodies like the WTO should be followed.The US has banned Huawei, the world leader in telecom equipment, over concerns of security and Washington has been pressuring other countries to restrict the operations of the Chinese telecom firm.India is yet to take a call on whether it intends to place curbs on Huawei or allow it to participate in the upcoming 5G trials. PTI MPB ZMN