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Jaishankar's veiled dig at Nehru over control of Pak-occupied Kashmir: ‘Someone's weakness’

May 16, 2024 03:51 PM IST

Jaishankar asserted that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of India and blamed “someone's weakness” for the loss of control over the region.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserted that the loss of control over Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoK) stemmed from "someone's weakness or mistake", subtly targeting the leadership of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress party.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.(PTI)

At an event titled ‘Vishwabandhu Bharat’, Jaishankar was asked about potential reaction from China if India crossed the 'Lakshman Rekha' and integrated PoK to the Union of India, givecn that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan.

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Read: PoK protests: Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on boil as 3 civilians shot dead during clashes

The external affairs dismissed the notion of a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ limiting India's actions and said, “I don't believe there's any such thing as a 'Lakshman Rekha'. I think PoK is a part of India, and due to someone's weakness or mistake, it's temporarily slipped away from us.”

Leveraging his experience as a former ambassador to China, Jaishankar criticised Beijing's collaboration with Pakistan, especially concerning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

"I was China's ambassador, and we all are aware of China's past actions and it working hand in glove with Pakistan... its old history. We repeatedly told them that this land, neither Pakistan nor China claims it as theirs. If there's any sovereign claimant, it's India. You're occupying, you're building there, but the legal title is mine," he said.

Read: Amid unrest in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Amit Shah's 'we will take...' warning

Jaishankar also pointed out the 1963 border agreement between Beijing and Islamabad, where Pakistan ceded about 5,000 km of territory to China.

"In 1963, Pakistan and China agreed to take their friendship forward, and to keep China close, Pakistan handed over about 5,000km of the Pakistan-occupied territory to China. It's written in that agreement that eventually, China will respect whether this territory belongs to Pakistan or India. Sometimes people just grab territory, and then it's about how to resolve it," Jaishankar said.

"I think we need to keep our position very strong, we need to have confidence in ourselves. Ten years ago, none of you would talk like this, it's a change... even the Indian public has confidence in this."

Read: Himanta Sarma's big claim on BJP's next move if it wins 400 seats in Lok Sabha

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has raked up the PoK issue ahead of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claiming that 400 seats for the BJP would ensure the integration of disputed territory with India.

On Thursday, Union home minister Amit Shah asserted that PoK belongs to India and the country will take it back "at any cost".

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