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MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. A solution to the rift between India and Pakistan over Kashmir should be found on a bilateral basis, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
"In connection with reports disseminated in certain Pakistani media outlets with reference to an official spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that Russia is ready to come forward as an intermediary in the Kashmir issue, we would like to underline that the Russian stance remains principal and unchanged: any rift between Islamabad and New Delhi should be solved on a bilateral basis under the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration," the foreign ministry said.
The foreign ministry pointed out that Russia, like the entire international community, "is motivated that India and Pakistan have good-neighbor relations."
"It would directly help to strengthen regional stability and security and to develop mutually beneficial ties in trade and economy," it said.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Russia was willing to help ease tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad. India’s foreign ministry denied the reports saying that the country had not received a proposal for Russia’s mediation.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been at a low ebb since 1947 since independence from Britain when India split into two states along religious lines. Both countries claim Kashmir - the territory of the former princely state of Kashmir.
Nowadays, Kashmir has no state border, with the Line of Control dividing the two states. Radical groups operate in Indian-administered Kashmir pressing for independence from rule by India. New Delhi repeatedly accuses Islamabad of backing terrorists and shelling the Indian territory. Pakistan denies all accusations.