New Delhi: An outraged Pakistan threatened to further escalate tensions hours after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said India expects to have physical jurisdiction over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) one day.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Pakistan Foreign Office called on “the international community to take serious cognizance of India’s aggressive posturing about taking ‘physical jurisdiction’ of AJK (Azaad Jammu and Kashmir)”.
“Coming from an occupying state, such irresponsible and belligerent statements have the potential to further escalate tensions and seriously jeopardise peace and security in the region. Pakistan stands for peace, but would be ready to respond effectively to any act of aggression,” it said.
The statement comes at a time when Pakistan is planning to take a hard stance against the Narendra Modi government’s move to abrogate Article 370, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
“Instead of resorting to jingoistic rhetoric, India must rescind its illegal actions, stop forthwith grave human rights violations in IoJ&K (Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir), refrain from violating international law, and fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions for a final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” added the statement.
Pakistan is now “seriously contemplating” moving a resolution on Kashmir at the ongoing plenary meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The last date for moving the resolution is Thursday, a source told ThePrint.
During his first-ever media interaction Tuesday, Jaishankar said, “Our position on PoK is, has been and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India and we expect one day we will have the physical jurisdiction over it.”
Jaishankar’s comments follow similar remarks by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, and some experts said this indicated New Delhi was raising the pitch on PoK as a diplomatic tactic.
The statement by Jaishankar came on a day when, besides the UNHRC, the European Parliament also held a special debate on the continued lockdown in Kashmir violating human rights.
For the first time in UNHRC’s history, the European Union also spoke about the situation in Kashmir and raised concerns on alleged human rights violations there.
No mention of Aksai Chin
While the Indian foreign minister spoke of having “physical jurisdiction” over PoK, he didn’t mention Aksai Chin even once during his media interaction that lasted more than an hour.
Under a 1963 boundary agreement, Pakistan had ceded about 5,180 square kilometres of territory in the PoK that formed the Shaksgam Valley in the west of Siachen to the Chinese. However, India’s contention with the Chinese in this sector is mainly over the Aksai Chin region.
Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah is the only one to have mentioned it on 6 August, a day after the abrogation of Article 370, on the floor of Parliament where he asserted that a reference to Jammu and Kashmir tantamount to PoK as well as Aksai Chin and that he is ready to “sacrifice his life” for this.
Last month, Singh had said talks with Pakistan now will only happen on PoK.
According to former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, Jaishankar’s statement was “much less harsher” compared to the statements made by the home and defence ministers on PoK.
“He said ‘one day’ which means there is no immediacy and no active plans at the moment. He did not even refer to a military action. What he said can also be interpreted as having a negotiated settlement. He has been much milder and cautious,” said Sibal.
“On the contrary, statements made by (Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan are far more aggressive and that should be a concern for the international community much more,” he added.
Some experts even asked if India is being “revisionist” here.
“It’s one thing to state a long-standing position, it’s another to have CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) ministers repeatedly state that India will revise the status quo and take physical jurisdiction of PoK. We’ve long assumed Pakistan is the only revisionist power in S Asia. No more?” tweeted Vipin Narang, security studies professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jabin T. Jacob, associate professor, department of international relations and governance studies at Shiv Nadar University, said, “What is the meaning of the claim unless you will claim it physically? He is putting in words in what is supposed to be happening in practice.”
He added, “We have to understand that the other side is also talking of war and physical aggression every time.”
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