US favours India sorting out Kashmir with Pakistan: Krishna

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna also asserted that India's role as non-permanent member, which it won in the UNSC yesterday, will not not encumbered by any issues.

He does not not share the impression that the current phase of the problem in the Kashmir valley and its handling gave India a different image in the outside world.

"To my mind it sounds all speculative.  These are kites being flown.  There is no no truth in it. The US has been conveying to India that we should sort out the issue.  If similar suggestions are put we take them with seriousness," Krishna said at a breakfast meeting with editors here.

He was asked about reports that US President Barack Obama, who is to visit India next week, wants India to sort settle the with Pakistan and that Washington would help India get permanent membership of the UNSC.

He was also asked whether the handling of the Kashmir issue in its current phase harmed  its image and could encumber its role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

The minister said India's relationship with the US was not not dependent on its ties with other countries including Pakistan.

"India, US relationship are between two democracies which value rule of law and there are various circumstances that bring us closely together.  They (US) have their own compulsions in Afghanistan and that is where the US will need Pakistan much more now than before," he said.

Krishna said the US also understands India's constructive role in Afganistan. "So the US has a special relationship with India and they recognise India's efforts and they encourage it."

The Minister said the US was aware of the tremendous risks India faced in Afghanistan and how its mission was repeatedly attacked there.

On Pakistan, Krishna said India was willing to go more than half way to improve relationship but Islamabad should also have to cooperate and respond to positive overtures made to them.

He said his invitation to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to visit India was still there but it could take place only in the first quarter of the next year since Delhi has a busy schedule in November and December due to important visits foreign dignitaries.

On Pakistan raking up Kashmir in the UNGA recently, the minister said Kashmir issue has always been there for the last more than 60 years but it was frozen in the UN for a long time.

When Qureshi raked  up Kashmir, India had responded that Kashmir was part of India, he said.

On Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's recent statement that the state had only acceded with India and not not merged, Krishna said "we go by Jammu and Kashmir had acceded with India under Maharaja Hari Singh and all other questions like merger have been debated."

On India securing a non-permanent seat in the Security Council again, he said India came out in "flying colours" in the election yesterday getting 187 votes whereas the minimum required was only 128.

"We wanted to test our own credibility and we made maximum efforts.  I would like to congratulate the Foreign Secretary and her team and the Permanent Representative in UN Hardeep Puri and also the various missions in the world for the victory," he said.

Krishna said yesterday's victory was an indication of the fact that India was a strong candidate for the permanent seat in the UNSC.  Simultaneously, efforts were on with G-4 countries, which have been in the forefront of efforts to give a new look to the UNSC, to see that India occupied the high table.

"The road to our mission is quite long. Nevertheless, we have to put in our best efforts relentlessly," he said adding the UNDC needs to get Krishna also thanked all the countries including Pakistan for their support to India's candidacy for the non-permanent seat.

"There is excellent rapport between the Permanent Representatives of India and Pakistan at the United Nations which was in display during a recent tennis match," he said.

Asked if he had talked to his counterpart Qureshi, the minister said contacts were established at various levels including the PRs and at the level of the Foreign Ministry."
To a question whether India is sure Pakistan extended its support, Krishna said the voting was secret but their "body language" reflected they supported India.

When asked about an article by a former Foreign Secretary that why India was begging for a permanent seat which was due to it in time, he said India was not not begging anybody.

"We won an election.  Nobody begs to win.  Yes we solicited help. Permanent membership is a desirable objective and we are working for  that."

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said it was not not that India was supplicating before countries.  "We have legitimate credentials and right to seek a permanent seat in the UNSC.  We are not not begging for support."

To another question about dealing with countries like Iran and Israel as non-permanent member, Krishna said that should not not be a problem because India has its own stand on issues and has been handling situations in the past.

He referred to a vote against Iran in the IAEA sometime back and Teheran was unhappy.  "But I visited Teheran and explained to them our vote and they understood our position," he added.

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