NEW DELHI: India urged Pakistan to review its actions of downgrading diplomatic relation and suspending bilateral ties between the two nations over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi added Pakistan's actions are not supported by facts on the ground and solely intended to present an alarming picture of the situation.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said, “We have seen reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain unilateral actions in respect to its bilateral relations with India. This includes the downgrading of our diplomatic relations. The intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground.”
The MEA further added, “Recent decisions by the Government and Parliament of India are driven by a commitment to extend to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution. Its impact would also result in the removal of gender and socio-economic discrimination. It is also expected to result in an upswing of economic activity and improvement in the livelihood prospects of all people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The MEA statement came after Pakistan on Wednesday announced that it will downgrade the diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India over scrapping of Article 370, Article 35A and bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (UTs). The rattled Pakistan government also expelled Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria, as part of their downgrading process. The newly appointed Pakistan High Commissioner will also not come to India. It also partially closed its airspace hours and increased the minimum limit of the altitude of flights, a move aimed at India.
"It is not surprising that such developmental initiatives that could address any disaffection in Jammu and Kashmir should be negatively perceived in Pakistan, which has utilized such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism," said the MEA, adding, "The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India. The Constitution of India was, is and will always be a sovereign matter. Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed."
"The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved," it added.
The diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan were previously suspended in 1965 and 1971. This means that all the staff was pulled back. The diplomatic relations have previously been downgraded in 1999 and 2002.
India abrogated Article 370 which accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday after a resolution regarding the same was passed in both houses of the Parliament earlier this week. The Centre also passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill 2019 which bifurcated the state into two UTs – Jammu and Kashmir (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
On the issue of scrapping Article 370, the Narendra Modi government has made it clear that it is an internal matter and the decision has been taken keeping its interest in mind.