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Norway Can Mediate Conflict Between India, Pakistan If Asked – Prime Minister

© AP Photo / Prabhjot Gill, fileIn this July 21, 2015 file photo, Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered during a daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border check post of Attari-Wagah near Amritsar, India
In this July 21, 2015 file photo, Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered during a daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border check post of Attari-Wagah near Amritsar, India - Sputnik International
Visiting Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has categorically ruled out any suo-motu mediation between Indian and Pakistan, unless both countries seek her country's help in resolving differences.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said that her country would be part of any mediation process between Indian and Pakistan on Kashmir issue only if the two countries "ask for it".

Solberg, who is on a three-day visit to India, was speaking today at a press meet on the eve of bilateral talks with her counterpart, Narendra Modi.

"It's true Norway has done a lot of work on the peaceful settlement. Nobody from outside can create peace. It has to come from inside. So if there is a movement in India and Pakistan for greater talks together, of-course countries can help, if there is a possibility", the Norwegian prime minister said.

READ MORE: India Appoints Former Intel Chief as Emissary to Douse Separatism in Kashmir

The Norwegian government has no plans to start any negotiation. Our government policy is clear if we going to help someone, they have to ask for it, she added.

Solberg said that she does not believe that there will be a military solution of this decade-old dispute between the two South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan. She added that both the countries are big enough to decrease tension between them without help from outside.

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard during a curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, June 9, 2017 - Sputnik International
Indian Government Distances Itself From Former Norwegian PM's Kashmir Visit
The situation in Kashmir has been simmering since India's independence in 1947 from British colonial governance and simultaneous partition of the Indian mainland into the two countries of India and Pakistan. The accession of Kashmir to India is challenged by Pakistan. Several rebel outfits have been operating from Kashmir and with terrorists operating in the region, allegedly supported by Pakistan.

Last November, former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik made headlines when he visited Jammu and Kashmir and met Kashmiri rebel leaders. Solberg today clarified that the former prime minister's visit to Kashmir was strictly a private one, which did not involve either government.

"He was invited and he wanted to see if there were some possibilities of helping out but there was no official mission and he was not on a mission from the Norwegian government", she said.

Last week, India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also told the parliament that the Indian government had nothing to do with Kjell Magne Bondevik's visit to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

READ MORE: Ceasefire Violations Force India to Close Schools in Areas Bordering Pakistan

"There is no change in the government's consistent and principled position that under the Shimla Agreement (1972) and as reiterated in the Lahore Declaration (1999), both India and Pakistan are committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally. There is no scope for any third party role or mediation", Sushma Swaraj had emphasized.

Erna Solberg is currently paying a state visit to India at the invitation of Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Solberg is accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation.

India and Norway enjoy close and multifaceted ties. More than 100 Norwegian companies have invested in India in areas such as shipbuilding, petroleum-related services, hydropower, clean energy, and IT services. 




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