Describing the abrogation of article 370 as a “long-awaited” step and the “right thing” to do, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said it is expected from Pakistan to pull out all stops to challenge the decision as it has made a deep investment in fuelling terrorism in Kashmir.
Asserting that the Indian security forces have exercised highest degree of restraint in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5, Jaishankar told a Washington audience that he expects Pakistan to continue what it has been doing for the past several decades.
“What do you expect the Pakistanis to say (after current restrictions are lifted and normalcy is restored) – we expect calm and happiness to return,” Jaishankar said in response to a question during his appearance at The Heritage Foundation, a top American think-tank.
“No, they (Pakistan) will not. They will paint apocalyptic scenarios because one that is their wish and two that’s actually what their game plan has been for 70 years,” he added.
He was responding to a question on recent remarks by top Pakistani leadership alleging that India would raise a false flag and blame Islamabad for any terrorist attack after the recent security and communication restrictions are lifted in Kashmir.
“I think it’s important to have a historical context to judge these remarks. This is not a conversation that began on August 5. These are their policies and their actions which began the day Kashmir acceded to India with Pakistani invaders threatening to burn down Srinagar. Please look at the history of Kashmir,” Jaishankar said.
As such there is a lot out there which needs to be taken into account, he said, noting that India’s endeavour will be to “manage this as well as it can”.
“I’m reasonably confident we should succeed out there,” he said.
“We have also seen a lot of alarmists rhetoric coming (from Pakistan), not just about false flag, (but also) jihad going all the way to nuclear weapons. That kind of gives you a sense of responsibility of the people who are saying,” the minister said.
Responding to another question on India’s action plan on getting back Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, Jaishankar said that the territory is under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
“The point I was making was a very simple one. My sovereignty and my jurisdiction is laid out by my maps. My maps have been there for 70 years,” he said.
“That’s my claim. And naturally, if I have a claim, as you would have a claim, as anybody would have a claim, we would hope one day that if there are territories in your claim of which you don’t have physical jurisdiction one day, you will. It’s as simple as that,” Jaishankar said.
Jaishankar further said the abrogation of article 370 was not a small step. “What we’ve done, was long-awaited. In my view, it was the right thing to have been done. It should have been done many years earlier,” he said.
“At the moment, given the fact that there have been such deep investments made by Pakistan in Kashmir, both in terrorism and in a kind of separatism, we don’t expect this to be uncontested,” he said.
There are going to be reactions to that. India’s strategy is obviously to reason with people and get them to understand why all of this is for their long-term benefit, he added.
“Clearly our intention is that they would buy into that” so that there is likely success of this new policy, he said further.
In that interim period, he asserted, India will take precautions, because history has shown the need for precautions.
The government will fail in its duty if it does not take that call, Jaishankar said, adding that instructions given to the security forces have been to exercise extreme restraint.