New Delhi: Nidhi Razdan of NDTV stirred a hornet’s nest on Monday when she posted a teaser about her interview with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg. She tweeted that Norway had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
About three hours later, Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Norway’s ambassador to India, rubbished the claim.
Always ready to corner NDTV, the so-called right-wingers pounced on the opportunity to question the credibility of the said television channel, some of whose journalists are quite popular on Twitter.
Ever since, Razdan’s time on the social medium has been devoted wholly to clarifications. She got into the semantics, painstakingly explaining the difference between “offers” and “says”.
What Norway PM actually said
Solberg had actually said on Monday that India and Pakistan were big enough countries to ensure that they can decrease bilateral tensions without help from outside.
Solberg made the remarks during a media interaction after the inauguration of a new green compound at the Royal Norwegian Embassy here.
Asked if Norway could play the role of a mediator having a reputation of resolving conflicts, she said Norway had done a lot of work on mediation for peaceful settlement of disputes, but her government’s policy was clear –to help someone when asked for it.
“Nobody from the outside can create peace or make changes. It has to come from inside,” she said.
So if there is a movement in India and Pakistan for greater talks together, other countries may help, but the process has to be “partner-driven”, Solberg said.
“It has to be those who are part of the conflict. I think both Pakistan and India are big enough countries to make sure that they can decrease tension between them without help from outside,” the Norwegian prime minister said.
Later, Norwegian ambassador to India Nils Ragnar Kamsv g, in a tweet, clarified that Solberg had not offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.
Norway has neither been asked nor offered to mediate, he said.
Solberg, while replying to a question on whether a military solution was possible in the Kashmir Valley, said, “I personally don’t believe that military solutions can solve problems, I believe in peaceful solutions. I believe in the participation of women and youth in peace negotiations.”
She said military solutions are not always long-lasting.
Solberg said that good relations with neighbours can also provide an opportunity for using less money on military and allocating more funds on health and education sectors.
The Norwegian prime minister, who arrived here this morning for a three-day visit, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday on a host of issues with an aim to expand the multi-faceted bilateral partnership.
To another question, Solberg said there is a long tradition of cooperation with India and she was looking forward to furthering collaboration in Tuesday’s meetings with the Indian leadership.
“Most of the political meetings will be tomorrow. This day we are starting with our business meeting and a record number of Norwegian businesses have come here to find Indian partners to increase cooperation with India,” Solberg said.
Asked how Norway can help India in the clean energy sector, she said that some of the technologies that her country has are applicable in India. She said there were a lot of opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the maritime, science and green energy sectors.