No third party role in India-Pakistan ties: Congress, BJP

New Delhi/Riyadh, Feb 28 (IANS) The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday made it clear that there was no scope for a third party in India-Pakistan relations.

Commenting on Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor’s remarks on Saudi Arabia’s potential as an interlocutor in India’s ties with Pakistan, a source close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi said: ‘India’s position on no to third party mediation in India-Pakistan issues is unchanged. There is no change in the Congress position.’

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi termed Tharoor’s remarks ‘unusual’ and reiterated India’s known stand that no third party can intervene in issues between India and Pakistan.

Tharoor, who is with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Riyadh, said: ‘We feel Saudi Arabia has a long and close relationship with Pakistan and that makes Saudi Arabia a more valuable interlocutor to us.’

He was asked if India will seek Saudi support to influence Pakistan to address Indian concerns over terrorism emanating from Pakistani territory.

As a mini storm erupted over Tharoor’s remarks, he clarified that India’s desire to seek Riyadh’s support on terrorism related issues with Islamabad did not mean giving it the role of a mediator in India-Pakistan disputes.

He said he had never used the word mediation or mediator while talking about a possible Saudi role.

‘No chance of my saying Saudi Arabia should be a mediator… Never said that or anything like it,’ Tharoor said a couple of hours after the media publicised his earlier remarks.

India is firmly opposed to any third party role in its relations with Pakistan.

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