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Changing Kashmir status within India’s rights: Experts

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Scrapping of special status for Jammu and Kashmir and splitting the state into two are entirely an internal matter and within India’s sovereign rights, and Pakistan’s approaching the UN or any world power will not be of any relevance, said experts on Monday.

On Monday, the Narendra Modi government scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and converted the border state into a Union Territory with a legislature. It also split the state by hiving off Ladakh region and making it into a Union Territory without a legislature.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the move and rejected India’s announcement on the status of Jammu and Kashmir and said it will “exercise all possible options to counter it”.

According to former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh, the decision to abrogate Article 370 is wholly an internal matter “and I don’t think the UN is going to change the situation”.

“The changes are entirely within our Constitution and within our sovereign rights; so therefore, Pakistan doesn’t have any role in it,” Lalit Mansingh told IANS.

“Reality now is that the ground situation has changed in Kashmir, and the UN is no longer relevant. I think the UN chapter is finally closed so far as India is concerned,” he said.

He added that whether Pakistan appeals to other world powers or approaches the UN “it will not be of any relevance so far as India is concerned”.

On hiving off of Ladakh, the former diplomat said that “it is within the sovereign rights of India, how it reorganises its states. And therefore there cannot be any external opinion on this. India is within its rights to create a special status for Ladakh, and it is beyond any kind of international inspection.”

According to G. Parthasarathy, former envoy to Islamabad, Pakistan is “very poorly placed” in objecting to India’s move on Kashmir.

“The example that it sets in the way it administers its side of Kashmir; Pakistan occupied Kashmir is not ruled by an elected government, but by a council headed by the prime minister, all the decisions are taken by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in Islamabad. And as for Gilgit-Baltistan, there is hardly any form of representative government, it is regarded more as less as a colony of Islamabad, and it has a Shia population which is pretty disaffected,” Parthasarathy told IANS.

He felt the Kashmir issue would not have any international repercussions. “And even President Trump has changed his position on what he said,” he said, adding “it is going to largely depend on how you manage things at home”.

Parthasarathy said: “Borders will remain troublesome as long as Pakistan wants it to remain troublesome. We will have to manage Pakistan diplomatically, and keep the heat on Pakistan – so that international costs are high for it to indulge in this.”

He referred to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assurances on tackling terrorism before his Washington visit, and also the arrest of Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.

“So I think the real thing (fomenting trouble on the border) is when this becomes too costly in national terms for Pakistan. It depends on how the diplomatic scenario stands.

“But if the amount of autonomy that these people get from India far exceeds that which Pakistan provides its side — what are they objecting to?”




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