Leh: Pakistan should stop “crying” unnecessarily over India’s decision to end special status of Jammu and Kashmir and instead focus on dismantling terror infrastructure operating from its soil, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Thursday.
As tension between India and Pakistan escalated over the Kashmir issue, Singh said Islamabad does not have any locus standi on Jammu and Kashmir and it must stop interfering in India’s internal affairs.
In his first visit to this strategically key region after the government’s historic decision on Jammu and Kashmir, the defence minister said Pakistan should now focus on gross violations of human rights in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir including in Gilgit-Baltistan.
“I want to ask Pakistan when was Kashmir with you that you keep crying about it. In fact, Pakistan is part of India. On what issue are you aggrieved? Why you are unnecessarily crying? Stop crying,” Singh said addressing an event organised by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
“Truth is that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan has been under Pakistan’s illegal occupation. Pakistan should focus on addressing human rights violations and atrocities in PoK,” he added.
Singh also referred to a resolution by Parliament in 1994 which said entire PoK including Gilgit-Baltistan is part of India.
“We respected your existence after Pakistan became a separate country. It does not mean you keep saying whatever you want to say and keep commenting on Kashmir in a planned way. No country in the world will allow it. Kashmir is part of India and nobody has any doubt about it,” he said.
In his address, Singh said Ladakh is a strategic area for the country and the government will ensure its all-round development.
“Why are you concerned? You first end terrorism in your country. Pakistan is our neighbour. We and our prime minister want cordial relations with Pakistan. We are for resolving issues through dialogue. But how can talks take place when you keep trying to destabilise India by using terror. The entire international community knows about it,” he said.
The defence minister said abrogating provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir has been a long-standing promise of the BJP and the decision was not taken in a hurry.
“No country is with Pakistan on the current issue,” Singh said.
He also cited Hindi proverb ‘begani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana’ to assert that Pakistan had nothing to do with Kashmir.
“There is no need to indulge in unnecessary melody on Kashmir, to show concern over Kashmir…We respect people’s wish. People’s will prevail in any healthy democracy,” said Singh.
He said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, during a telephonic conversation, told him that abrogation of provisions of Article 370 was an internal matter of India.
“When we made a law to make Ladakh a separate Union Territory then we not only respected the public sentiment here but also gave a solution to the problems of the people,” Singh said.
“Our prime minister has made it clear that localised solution will be brought in for India’s strategic areas,” he said.
Earlier this month, the government had revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Singh, who was here to attend the ‘Kisan Jawan Vigyan Mela’, organised by Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) DRDO, said the event is a big step towards strengthening the strategic ecosystem in Ladakh. (PTI)