Former prime minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik reportedly visited Jammu and Kashmir on 23 November and met representatives of various organisations, including All Party Hurriyat Conference, the government has said in Parliament.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also told Rajya Sabha on Thursday, 27 December that the “government of India was not involved in organising the visit and meetings”.
“According to available information, former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik was on a private visit to India at the invitation of the Art of Living International Centre (Ved Vigyan Maha Vidya Peeth), Bengaluru,” she said in a written reply in response to a question.
“He reportedly visited Jammu and Kashmir on 23 November, 2018 and met representatives of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum, All Party Hurriyat Conference,” the reply said.
In the written reply, Swaraj said, it has also been reported that he “visited Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir from 24-27 November , 2018”.
“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 address all outstanding issues bilaterally. There is no scope for any third party role or mediation,” she added.
In response to another question, the minister said, continued cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan “remains a core concern for India”.
“The government of Pakistan has been consistently called upon to abide by its commitment not to allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manners,” she said.
India has made it clear that for holding a meaningful bilateral dialogue, “onus lies on Pakistan” to create a conducive environment free from terror, hostility and violence, Swaraj said.
In response to another question, Minister of State for External Affairs, V K Singh told Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the “ministry is not in receipt of any proposal for the establishment of Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Kerala.”
“No information has so far been received from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi with regard to this issue,” he said in a written reply.