New York: India has said that serious bilateral dialogue can happen only "without the shadow of terrorism" as Pakistan raked up the Kashmir issue at the UN.
The forthright Indian stand was put forward at the Fourth Committee meeting in UN General Assembly on decolonisation issues on Friday when the Pakistani delegate raised the issue.
The Pakistani diplomat said the decolonisation agenda of the UN would be incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Islamabad is willing to engage New Delhi to settle the issue.
"Pakistan is willing to engage India in a comprehensive dialogue to normalise relations between the two countries by finding an amicable solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
"Peaceful resolution of this dispute is imperative for durable peace and stability in South Asia," he said, quoting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's UNGA address where he had said a veil cannot be drawn on the issue of Kashmir and resolving the issue is the responsibility of the international community.
Exercising the Right of Reply, Abhishek Singh, First Secretary in the Indian mission to the UN, rejected the "untenable" comments made by the Pakistani diplomat and reminded him about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks at UNGA last month in which he had said that he is prepared to engage in serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan "in a peaceful atmosphere without the shadow of terrorism."
The Pakistani diplomat responded saying that his country condemns terrorism in all its forms and the "just struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their inalienable right to self-determination cannot be subsumed under the label of terrorism."
He said that in South Asia the "unresolved" Jammu and Kashmir dispute has been at the heart of conflict and tensions for decades. Recognised by many UN resolutions, the dispute is about the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Kashmiris, he added.
Singh said that it is regrettable that Pakistan has made a reference to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. He added that the references to Jammu and Kashmir during the session are also "completely irrelevant" to the work of the Fourth Committee.
"I would like to bring to the notice of this Committee that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with the universally accepted democratic principles and practices and they continue to do so.
"Democracy in Jammu and Kashmir has enabled the people of the state to freely express their wishes and elect their representatives," Singh said.
The Pakistani diplomat said that according to various UN resolutions the settlement of the J&K issue would be through a "free and impartial plebiscite" conducted under UN auspices.
"No electoral exercise conducted by Indian authorities in Jammu and Kashmir can substitute a free and impartial plebiscite mandated by these UNSC resolutions," he said.
Exercising the Right to Reply for the second time, Singh said India rejects "all the untenable and unsolicited remarks" made by the Pakistan delegate, to which the Pakistani diplomat responded that "merely rejecting the legality of an argument does not change the legal status."