UNITED NATIONS- UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed readiness to engage with India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir issue, if requested by both and asked them to resume talks to reach an agreement that would serve their security interests as well as that of the region.

"As I have stated in the past, if both countries request it, I am ready to engage further to assist in resolving this issue," the Secretary General said.

Reiterating that peace in Jammu and Kashmir can be achieved only through dialogue, Ban called on the two countries to resume discussions. He said that an agreement on Kashmir would serve the security interests of both countries as well as that of the region.

"I once again encourage both governments to resume discussions and identify confidence-building measures that will allow them to come to an agreement on Kashmir, which will serve the security interests of both countries as well as of the region," said Ban.

He said that Kashmiris need to be engaged in the process and their rights must also be respected at all times. Ban said he as well as other senior officials had been in close contact with authorities from both Pakistan and India in recent weeks, given the tensions between the two countries when violence escalated along the Line of Control in October.

Adviser to the Pakistan prime minister on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had written a letter to Ban, on the border tensions with India and sought the UN's intervention.

India has maintained that Kashmir is its internal matter and has made it clear that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir would be discussed with Pakistan within the framework of bilateral agreements of Simla pact and Lahore Declaration.