New Delhi: Upping the ante, India on Tuesday said Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is its part and one day it expects to have “physical jurisdiction” over it, and asserted that there is no need to “worry” too much beyond a point about what people will say on Kashmir, as it is an internal issue on which its position has “prevailed and will prevail.”
Addressing his first press conference after assuming the office in the Modi 2.0 government in May, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also hit out at Pakistan, saying India has a “unique challenge” from one neighbour and it would remain a challenge until that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour and acts against cross-border terrorism.
During his nearly 75-minute press interaction, the minister touched upon wide-ranging issues pertaining to country’s foreign relations, including strategic ties and issues with the US, engagement with China and New Delhi’s status at the global stage.
He also made it clear that with Pakistan, the issue is not Article 370, the issue is cross-border terrorism and the first thing that has to come to table for any talks with Pakistan has to be the terrorism issue.
Asked about remarks by some Union leaders that henceforth talks with Pakistan would be only about PoK and not on Kashmir, Jaishankar said, “Our position has, is and will always be very clear on PoK, that it is part of India and we expect one day we will have physical jurisdiction over it.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu have made statements in this regard in the recent past after Pakistan sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue in the wake of abrogation of Article 370.
Amidst concerns expressed by some countries and the UN human rights organisation over situation in Kashmir, Jaishankar said international audience understands what were India’s reasons for abrogating Article 370.
“It was a temporary provision which is not often used in the analysis of events…The provision had actually become dysfunctional. It was being arbitraged by some narrow set of people for their own gains. By doing so they were impeding development and feeding a sense of separatism. The separatism was being utilised by Pakistan to carry out cross-border terrorism,” he said.
Indo-US relations have been on an upward trajectory and are in a very good health, Jaishankar said, asserting that the “sharper edges” in trade ties which the media has reported will be addressed in the not-so-distant future.
He said the “trajectory” of the relationship between India and the US has been “upwards” amid various administrations in Washington, be it George Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump.
Responding to a question on commerce, he said the trade problem between the two countries is “normal”. Regarding trade relations, the minister was of the view that “it’s a glass 90 per cent full rather than 10 per cent empty.” “As relationship grows, there will be problems … The only way you don’t have trade problems is when you do not trade,” he said.