Pakistan rejects Modi’s Kashmir ‘proxy war’ claims

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday dismissed as “baseless rhetoric” claims by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it was waging a “proxy war” in disputed Kashmir.

India´s Hindu nationalist leader made the remarks on Tuesday shortly before visiting Kargil, a remote area of Kashmir that was the scene of a deadly conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours in 1999.New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of using Pakistan-based militant groups such as the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba against its forces in the divided Himalayan territory — a claim Islamabad denies.

Pakistan´s foreign ministry said Modi was “repeating baseless rhetoric against Pakistan”, in a statement released on Wednesday, and urged Delhi to adopt a more constructive approach.

“The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate,” the statement said, stressing Pakistan´s desire for “good neighbourly relations”.

“It would be in the larger interest of the regional peace that instead of engaging in a blame game, the two countries should focus on resolving all issues through dialogue and work together to promote friendly and cooperative relations.”

Modi´s visit came a day after Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat over a cross-border firing incident near the eastern city of Sialkot at the foot of the Kashmir hills, which the foreign ministry said killed at least one civilian.