New Delhi, Sep 17, 2019-
India on Tuesday made its position on Kashmir very clear, stating that revocation of Article 370 was a purely internal affair which it would not discuss with Pakistan, and that it expects to one day to have “physical jurisdiction” over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, addressing his first press conference on completion of 100 days of the Modi 2.0 government, minced no words in stating that the only issue India would discuss with Pakistan would be of cross-border terrorism.
He virtually ruled out talks with Pakistan on Kashmir, saying the August 5 revocation of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir was India’s internal issue, and did not concern Islamabad in any way.
“First of all 370 is not a bilateral issue, 370 is an internal issue. With regard to Pakistan, the issue is not 370, the issue with Pakistan is terrorism,” he said.
“There is no change.. (on Pakistan policy) We must make the world realise (about Pakistan fomenting terrorism). Show me one country that openly conducts terrorism against its neighbour as part of what it considers its foreign policy… What should come on the table first of all is the terrorism issue. Because that is the root cause of this. There has to be a recognition,” he said.
To a question on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in the backdrop of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah, among others stating that the only talks with Islamabad would now be on PoK, Jaishankar said: “Yes, our position on PoK is, has been, and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India, and we expect one day that we will have physical jurisdiction over it.”
On revocation of special status for Kashmir, he emphasised that Article 370 was a temporary provision of the Indian Constitution and it had to end someday. This is what India has been telling the world.
“It was a temporary provision and the meaning of temporary is that it has to come to an end. This provision had actually become dysfunctional, that it was being arbitraged by a narrow set of people for their own gains, and that was leading to lack of development. The lack of development was feeding a sense of separatism, and that separatism was being utilised by Pakistan to carry out its cross border terrorism.”
He said that most of the world understood this logic.
To a question on talking with Pakistan, with the Pakistani establishment stating that it has offered dialogue to India but to no avail, he said: “Part of the problem is that Pakistan is only doing talking. It has not been doing anything other than this.
“They think that nice words are an answer to the real problem, but the real problem is the dismantling of this industry (cross border terror) that they have created.
“The question is not whether what can you talk about.. it’s not an India issue. Show me a country in the world that can accept that it’s neighbour can conduct terrorism and then it will go and talk to them.
“Our position is completely normal, rational. They are the set of people whose behaviour is an aberration,” he said.