India has firmly told Pakistan that Jammu & Kashmir will remain an integral part of the country and criticised Islamabad for using terrorism as a “tool of state policy” to covet the Indian territory.
India strongly hit back at Islamabad for raking up the Kashmir issue at a UN forum on culture of peace, saying Pakistan is “well-known” for providing safe havens to terrorists and cloaks its designs in the garb of concern for justice and self-determination.
Pakistan played the fresh Kashmir card about 10 days before the annual high-level UN General Assembly (UNGA) session is set to begin at the world body’s headquarters.
At the UN forum, senior Indian diplomat Srinivas Prasad said, “May I remind our neighbour that Jammu & Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India. It is time that Pakistan too reconciles to this. As a democracy, India always abides by the choice of the people and will not allow it to be undermined by terrorists and extremists.”
Mr Prasad was countering Pakistan’s Permanent Representa-tive Maleeha Lodhi, who raised the Kashmir issue during a debate a day earlier.
The Indian diplomat said, “It is ironic, that our neighbour Pakistan, well-known for providing safe havens to terrorists and using terrorism as a tool of State policy, has used this platform to yet again covet Indian territory, cloaking its designs in the garb of concern for justice and self-determination.”
“A culture of peace, not only symbolises peace in the larger context, but in terms of inter-state ties is also a value built on good neighbourliness, mutual respect and non-interference,” he said.
Ms Lodhi had brought up the Kashmir issue, saying there are long standing cases where historic injustices wait to be corrected and where people are still denied their fundamental right to self-determination.
Pakistan’s leaders have consistently used the UNGA podium to internationalise the Kashmir issue even as its efforts have found no international backing.
New Delhi’s strong diplomatic counter-attack at the UN forum comes close to Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement that India should resolve the through “political and diplomatic” means rather than “abusing” – a veiled reference to India’s successful campaign for getting Pakistan-based terror groups named in the recently-released Brics declaration.
The timing of the virtual spat between the two neighbours at the UN form has brought into focus home minister Rajnath Singh’s four-day J&K visit beginning Saturday during which he will travel to Srinagar, Anantnag, Jammu and Rajouri and meet civil society members, leaders of political and social outfits, business leaders and others with an “open mind” to resolve all problems.