MOSCOW, August 14. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his phone conversation with Pakistani counterpart Mehmood Qureshi highlighted the importance of defusing tensions with India, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday.
"The sides discussed the situation in South Asia amid the deterioration between Pakistan and India after New Delhi’s decision on changing the legal status of the Jammu and Kashmir state," the ministry stated.
"The Russian side stressed the need for de-escalating tensions and that there is no alternative to ironing out the differences between Pakistan and India on a bilateral basis by political and diplomatic means," according to the statement.
Russia’s representatives to the United Nations adhere to this consistent position, it said.
On August 5, New Delhi announced that it was revoking Article 370 of the country’s constitution that granted a special status and a degree of autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and also breaking the state up into two union territories largely controlled by the central government. Pakistan strongly condemned the move.
Before the constitutional amendments, Jammu and Kashmir — the only Indian state where Muslims constitute a majority — had special autonomy. All bills in this state passed by the central government (except for those related to defense and foreign relations) had to be backed by a local assembly. People from other Indian regions had no right to buy land in Kashmir. The state had its official flag.