India asserts Kashmir is entirely an internal affair

After Pakistan announced the downgrading of diplomatic ties with India and asked New Delhi to withdraw its high commissioner Ajay Bisaria, India regretted Islamabad’s “unilateral” move and urged it to “review” it “so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved”.

In a statement, New Delhi also said “the recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India” and that the move was “driven by a commitment to extend to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution”.

Firing a salvo at Paki-stan, New Delhi said it was “not surprising that such development initiatives that could address any disaffection in J&K should be negatively perceived in Pakistan, which has utilised such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism”. India also said Pakistan’s “intention of presenting an alarmist view of the region would never succeed”.

Pakistan, meanwhile, said it was ready to review its decision against India if New Delhi agreed to reconsider its actions on Kashmir, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday: “Are they ready to review their decisions? If they do, we can also review our decisions. Review will be on both sides. That is what (the) Shimla (agreement) says,” Qureshi said.

New Delhi further noted that its move (on bifurcation of J&K and revoking of Article 370 that ended the special status for the state) would also “result in the removal of gender and socio-economic discrimination”, besides resulting in “an upswing of economic activity and improvement in the livelihood prospects of all people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Indian reaction came just hours after Pakistan on Wednesday evening announced a slew of measures that also included “suspension of bilateral trade with India, review of bilateral arrangements” (with India), and approaching the UN Security Council against India’s J&K move.

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