Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Miliband faces India media flak

David Miliband
Mr Miliband has urged movement to solve the Kashmir issue

The Indian media have continued their assault on UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband following his comments on the Kashmir issue.

Mr Miliband, who visited India and Pakistan last week, said in a UK newspaper article that solving the dispute would help tackle extremism.

India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who have fought Indian rule in Kashmir, for the November attacks on Mumbai.

But Delhi sees Kashmir as an "internal" issue separate from tackling terrorism.

Warning shot

On Monday the Hindu's editorial said Mr Miliband's visit was an "ill-conceived foray" and criticised the linkage of the Mumbai attacks with the divided region of Kashmir.

"Such ham-handedness plays into the hands of those who are in denial and rationalise violent extremism by finding 'just' causes for it," it wrote.

The foreign secretary was very open and honest about his views, which are those of the British government
Spokeswoman for David Miliband

The editorial in the Asian Age said: "Such appeasement of terrorism is startling... What next? That the chief imam of London's Finsbury Park Mosque should be elevated to the House of Lords?"

The Pioneer accused Mr Miliband of "domestic grandstanding and ideological posturing that only left his Indian hosts convinced of Whitehall's marginal status in international politics".

A number of Indian newspapers at the weekend quoted officials as criticising Mr Miliband's "aggressive" attitude in meetings.

In his article in the Guardian, Mr Miliband said resolving the Kashmir dispute would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders.

India's foreign ministry reacted strongly, saying India did not need unsolicited advice on internal issues.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party described the visit as a "diplomatic disaster".

The BBC's Jill McGivering says Indian officials may be firing a warning shot, reminding the West that foreign attempts to engage with - or interfere in - the dispute about Kashmir are unwelcome.

India has long resisted attempts to internationalise Kashmir, which it sees as a bilateral affair.

A spokeswoman for Mr Miliband was quoted in the UK's Independent newspaper on Sunday as saying: "The foreign secretary was very open and honest about his views, which are those of the British government. He delivered the same message in New Delhi as he did in Islamabad."

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