EAM S Jaishankar reiterates India's stance on merger of PoK amid protests by Pak

13 May,2024 04:25 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Speaking at a seminar in Mumbai, EAM S Jaishankar stated that PoJK has always been a vital part of India and will remain so

S Jaishankar in Mumbai/ Shadab Khan

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Amid rising protests in Muzaffarabad, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar restated India's stance on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoJK). Speaking at a seminar on Indian capital markets titled 'Roadmap for Viksit Bharat' at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Mumbai, Jaishankar stated that PoJK has always been a vital part of India and will remain so, reported ANI.

Speaking at the seminar in Mumbai, he said, "These days, a lot of things are going on at the POK. You must have seen some incidents happening there. Now, Modi government, we are very clear on this. Parliament's resolution, we are very clear that POK is a part of India. It is part of India, it was always part of India, it will be part of India."

He added, "And we definitely have this intention. that one day we will end the illegal occupation of the POK and the POK will join with India. Now you see that the opposition is in the opposite direction."

Jaishankar also questioned the motivations behind the opposition to repealing Article 370, which conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir. He highlighted the Modi government's determination to integrate Kashmir with the rest of India and promote its development, the news agency report added.

"If I talk about the record, then in the last five years, one of our great achievements was on Article 370. And we will also say that the NDA's record and the NDA's thinking, the Modi government's thinking is how to integrate Kashmir with the country, how to further develop Kashmir. On the other hand, you see who wanted to run Article 370, and who was interested in it. So this is also a very clear choice in front of the country," he said.

The news report stated that concerned about Pakistan's nuclear weapons, Jaishankar dismissed misgivings raised by figures such as Farooq Abdullah, stating that India is proud of its nuclear capability. He questioned the fear of discussing PoJK because of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, describing it as a "prisoner of the vote bank" attitude.

"Farooq Abdullah reminds us not to talk about POK because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. We are proud of India's nuclear weapons. On the contrary, Pakistan's nuclear weapons seem to be more important. If it is Manish Shankar Iyer or Farooq Abdullah, they are so afraid of Pakistan's nuclear weapons that they think that we should not talk about POK. So I will say that whatever is the issue of security, we are on the side of CAA, our intention is to take CAA forward. They are the prisoners of the vote bank. And from the beginning, the minorities who had to come to India from their neighbouring country, they were never worried about them. They never thought about the injustice done to them," Jaishankar added.

In PoJK, tensions remained high as protests against high wheat flour prices and inflated utility bills reached their fourth day. Demonstrators began a long march to Muzaffarabad, resulting in skirmishes with security forces and casualties.

Despite efforts by the Pakistani government to de-escalate the situation, strikes and sit-ins interrupted daily life, closing markets and suspending transportation. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif requested a high-level conference to address the ongoing turmoil in PoJK, as talks between demonstrators and the state government stalled, the news report added.

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