Halt ‘alarmist’ talk on Kashmir, Pak warned

Lashing out at statements on the Kashmir issue from various Pakistani politicians and prominent figures, including exhortations for a “jihad” against this country, India on Thursday strongly condemned these as “irresponsible” and “intended to project an alarmist situation”, even as it asked Pakistan to “behave like a normal neighbour”. Sources said that having faced diplomatic defeat, Islamabad was now trying “hashtag warfare (on the Internet and social media platforms)” while India’s top priority was to ensure that “not a single life was lost”.

New Delhi said the world had seen through Pakistan’s tactics that were based on “lies and deception”. It also said India was informed in advance about the missile test by Pakistan, but that there was no information about any complete closure of Pakistani airspace.

Speaking in Leh, Ladakh, defence minister Rajnath Singh said, meanwhile, that Pakistan should stop “crying” unnecessarily over India’s decision to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and instead  focus on dismantling the terror infrastructure that was operating from its soil. The defence minister, on his first visit to ladakh after the government’s historic decision on J&K, 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 are you unnecessarily crying? Stop crying,” Mr Singh said, addressing an event of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

In a worrying development, India also said Thursday that it had got information that Pakistan was “trying to infiltrate terrorists” (into J&K and other parts of India). The MEA also referred to the various pro-people announcements made by the J&K government recently, including fresh job opportunities and the procurement of farmers’ apple crop, adding efforts were being made for a swift return to normality.

“We strongly condemn the highly irresponsible statements (and) references to ‘jihad’ (Islamic holy war) that are intended to project an alarmist situation,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said. “Not a single live bullet has been fired. No life has been lost,” he added.

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