NEW DELHI: Security experts feel that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement on Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a clear indication of India’s toughened stand towards Pakistan. They said with the abrogation of Article 370, India considers the Jammu and Kashmir issue to be over.
Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Pinak Chakravarty said, “This is definitely hardening of government’s position towards Pakistan. The government’s position is fairly clear that unless terrorism stops, we will not have bilateral talks. And if talks happen, we will only discuss PoK because after abrogation of Article 370, we have integrated our part of J&K and there is nothing to discuss. We have made it clear that the whole of J&K is an integral part and our claim remains on Pakistan occupied part of J&K. Also, our claim remains on the China occupied part of J&K and Shaksgam valley which Pakistan illegally ceded to China in 1963.”
Chakravarty said bilateral talks are the only way forward and both sides are bound by the Shimla Agreement of 1972.
Former Intelligence Chief Vikram Sood voiced a similar opinion and said J&K is totally off the agenda.
“What the Defence Minister has said about PoK clearly reveals India’s toughened stand towards Pakistan on Kashmir. It is clear that whenever the bilateral talks happen, India will only talk about the part that Pakistan is holding illegally.”
Sood, who served as the head of Research & Analysis Wing from 2000 to 2003, added that the UN resolution that Pakistan often quotes holds no value because Pakistan does not abide by its primary condition which requires them to completely withdraw its forces from the whole of J&K.
Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan too said Rajnath’s statement is a reiteration of Indian government’s stand on PoK.
“It has always been the government’s position that PoK has to be discussed with Pakistan. It is not new,” Raghavan said.