- Foreign Minister described Article 370 move as a "long awaited" step
- "What do you expect the Pakistanis to say?" S Jaishankar in US
- "My maps have been there for 70 years," he said
Describing the decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 as a "long-awaited" step and the "right thing" to do, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said it was expected that "the decision would not be uncontested," given Pakistan's "deep investments" in fueling terrorism and separatism in Kashmir.
"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 before a Washington audience.
"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," the Foreign Minister said at an event organized by a top American think tank, The Heritage Foundation.
Asserting that Indian security forces had exercised the highest degree of restraint in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5 (when the Article 370 decision was announced), Mr Jaishankar said Pakistan was fully expected to paint "apocalyptic scenarios" as had been its MO for 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? 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," Mr Jaishankar said in response to a question on recent remarks by top Pakistani leadership alleging that India would blame Islamabad for any terrorist attack after the security and communication restrictions were 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," Mr 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. We have also seen a lot of alarmist 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 (PoK), Mr Jaishankar said the territory was 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. 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," Mr Jaishankar said.
S Jaishankar said that reactions to the scrapping of 370 were obvious, and India's strategy was to reason with people and get them to understand why all of this is for their long-term benefit.
"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, Mr Jaishankar said, adding that instructions given to the security forces have been to exercise extreme restraint.