Continuing his tough talk with Pakistan, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that should bilateral talks happen, it would not be about Jammu and Kashmir, but on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the territory under Pakistan’s control since it invaded the region in 1947.
“If talks are held with Pakistan, it will now be on PoK,” he said in a public address after flagging off of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ in Haryana’s Kalka, some 20 km from Chandigarh.
The Yatra, being held in the run-up to Haryana’s upcoming Assembly elections, will pass through the state’s 90 Assembly seats and conclude with a rally in Rohtak on September 8.
BJP’s state election-in-charge and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his Cabinet colleagues attended the flagging off of the Yatra.
Referring to the August 5 abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath Singh said it was done for the development of the state.
“Our neighbour is knocking on the doors of the international community saying India made a mistake. Talks with Pakistan will be held only if it stops supporting terror,” he categorically said.
He said a few days ago Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told his country that India was planning to take an action bigger than Balakot. “So Pakistan PM does acknowledge what India did in Balakot,” he said.
His remarks come in the wake of Pakistan approaching the international community over India’s Kashmir move.
A rare closed-door consultation on Kashmir was held by the United Nations Security Council on August 16 after it was called by China, Pakistan’s all-weather ally, on Islamabad’s request to discuss the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting, however, ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ, dealing a huge snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, which an overwhelming majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Majority of the 15 members said there should not be any statement or outcome issued after the consultations and their will prevailed, leaving China to come out and make a statement in its national capacity followed by Pakistan.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh had made an intriguing statement saying that India’s nuclear policy till date has been ‘No First Use’ but “what happens in future depends on the circumstances”.
“Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘No First Use’. What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”
His statements gain significance as Pakistan has upped its ante over India’s decision to revoke Article 370, that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
On August 5, the Government scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into two union territories.
Following this, Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India. It expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and suspended trade with India.
It also suspended the Samjhauta Express and Thar Express services between the two nations
A day after the Indian government abrogated Article 370, Imran Khan had warned of “Pulwama-like incidents to happen again”.