India has rejected an offer of mediation from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the focus should instead be on making Pakistan vacate the territories that it has "illegally and forcibly occupied".
India's response came after Guterres's comment at a media conference in Islamabad that he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and it was important for India and Pakistan "to de-escalate militarily and verbally."
The UN chief, who was on a visit to Pakistan, said he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation.
In New Delhi, India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, "India's position has not changed. Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan."
"Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third-party mediation," he said, in response to a query on Guterres's remark.
Ties between India and Pakistan have remained strained since last year's terror attack on a security convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, that killed 40 Indian paramilitary personnel in Pulawama and India hit back with an air strike on a terror camp in Balakote, Pakistan.
It was not the first time Guterres has come up with his offer of mediation in Kashmir issue even though he knew that India would not welcome it.
In the last six months, India also made it clear while responding to US President Donald Trump's offer that there is no scope for a third-party mediation in Kashmir.
Trump will be in India on his first visit as president later this month.