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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Ministers’ remarks on PoK mark a big shift

Former ambassador Rajiv Dogra, who served in Pakistan, said the remarks by the ministers represented a “big shift”, especially as they came ahead of the UN General Assembly, where Islamabad is expected to raise the Kashmir issue.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2019 03:26 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
New Delhi
A man fishes in Dal lake, in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
A man fishes in Dal lake, in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
         

Recent statements by senior ministers on the status of Jammu and Kashmir, including parts occupied by Pakistan, signal a significant shift in India’s position that will have implications for any future engagements on the Kashmir issue.

On Tuesday, external affairs minister S Jaishankar made it clear that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of India and the country expects to have “physical jurisdiction” over it one day.

Earlier, on August 6, home minister Amit Shah said Kashmir, including PoK and Aksai Chin, were an integral part of India. On August 18, defence minister Rajnath Singh said any dialogue with Pakistan would be “solely on the issue of PoK”.

Experts believe these statements by members of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest decision-making body on security issues, mark a significant shift and take things further than the Parliament’s 1994 resolution that described Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India and demanded Pakistan “must vacate” areas of the state “occupied through aggression”.

Former ambassador Rajiv Dogra, who served in Pakistan, said the remarks by the ministers represented a “big shift”, especially as they came ahead of the UN General Assembly, where Islamabad is expected to raise the Kashmir issue. “This hasn’t been done without some thought going into it. It is not an impulsive thing and it appears to be a very considered line,” he said.

Former envoy Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, a visiting fellow with Observer Research Foundation, said the remarks were an indication that the agenda for any possible engagement with Pakistan will be markedly different.

“If Pakistan insists on the inclusion of the Kashmir issue, India could very well turn around and say it will only talk on PoK. But it will be a long haul and I don’t see it (any engagement) happening soon,” he said.

Dogra added, “Things have not turned out so bad for India despite criticism (of the Kashmir situation) in the international media. At the policy level, we have done fairly okay but translating these comments into political reality is a different ball game.”

India’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status and to split the state into two UTs has angered Pakistan, which has sought to raise the matter at several international forums such as the UN Human Rights Council.

First Published: Sep 19, 2019 03:26 IST

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