- Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
- Mr Singh spoke in Leh, first Ladakh trip after it became union territory
- "Kashmir has always been a part of India," he said
Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir, which always belonged to India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said today at an event in Leh, Ladakh. "I want to ask Pakistan, when did Kashmir ever belong to Pakistan that you keep crying about it," he said in a sharp takedown amid Islamabad's attempts to raise protests over the government's Kashmir decisions.
"Pakistan ban gaya toh hum aapke wajood ka samman karte hain (Since Pakistan was created, we respect its identity)," Mr Singh said at a function of the Defence Research and Development Organisation in Leh.
"Kashmir has always been a part of India," he said, reiterating the government's stand. "India wants to have good neighbourly relationship with Pakistan, but it should first stop exporting terror to India," Mr Singh added.
Pakistan has been attempting to gather support from the world for its stand against India's decision to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir and split it into union territories earlier this month.
This is Rajnath Singh's first visit to Ladakh after it was carved out as a union territory from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Defence Minister is scheduled to review security preparedness in the region during his visit.
Islamabad's attempts to create a stir in the United Nations Security Council over Kashmir fell flat after most of the participating nations agreed that the ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two union territories was a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Mr Singh also said that Pakistan should focus on addressing human rights violations and atrocities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
He said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, during a telephonic conversation, told him that ending special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was an internal matter of India.
"No country is with Pakistan on the current issue," Rajnath Singh said.
Pakistan had threatened to write to the United Nations on Kashmir. Besides flagging the matter on international forums, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has also shut down train and bus service between the two nations and clamped down on diplomatic relations.
(With inputs from PTI)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.