External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday described the decision to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 as a “long-awaited” step and the “right thing” to do. He stated it was expected that “the decision would not be uncontested,” given Pakistan’s “deep investments” in fueling terrorism and separatism in Kashmir.
Before a Washington audience, he asserted that “What we’ve done, was long-awaited. In my view, it was the right thing to have been done. It should have been done many years earlier”.
The event was organized by a top American think tank, The Heritage Foundation. The Foreign Minister further added that “At the moment, given the fact that there have been such deep investments made by Pakistan in Kashmir, both in terrorism and in a kind of separatism… we don’t expect this to be uncontested.”
Mr. Jaishankar said that India after August 5, the day of Article 370 decision announcement, had exercised the maximum degree of restraint in Jammu and Kashmir and that Pakistan was fully expected to paint “apocalyptic scenarios” as had been its MO for several decades.
Mr. Jaishankar was asked a question on recent remarks by top Pakistan leadership alleging that India would blame Islamabad for any kind of terror attack after the security and communication restrictions were lifter in Kashmir.
He replied saying, “What do you expect the Pakistanis to say (after current restrictions are lifted and normalcy is restored)… we expect calm and happiness to return? No, they (Pakistan) will not. They will paint apocalyptic scenarios because one, that is their wish and two, that’s actually what their game plan has been for 70 years.”
“I think it’s important to have a historical context to judge these remarks. This is not a conversation that began on August 5. These are their policies and their actions which began the day Kashmir acceded to India with Pakistani invaders threatening to burn down Srinagar. Please look at the history of Kashmir,” Mr. Jaishankar went on saying.
The minister also suggested there is a lot there which needs to be taken into account, observing that India’s endeavor will be “manage this as well as it can”.
“I’m reasonably confident we should succeed out there. We have also seen a lot of alarmist rhetoric coming (from Pakistan), not just about false flag, (but also) jihad… going all the way to nuclear weapons. That kind of gives you a sense of responsibility of the people who are saying,” the minister said.
He continued, “The point I was making was a very simple one. My sovereignty and my jurisdiction is laid out by my maps. My maps have been there for 70 years. That’s my claim. And naturally, if I have a claim, as you would have a claim, as anybody would have a claim, we would hope one day that if there are territories in your claim of which you don’t have physical jurisdiction one day, you will. It’s as simple as that.”
He clearly pointed out that restrictions to the scrapping of 370 were obvious, and India’s strategy was to reason with people and make them understand why all of this is for their long-term benefit.