Setback for India-Pakistan ties over Kashmir row | Daily News

Setback for India-Pakistan ties over Kashmir row

Labourers buy bus tickets at a counter of Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Reception Centre (JKTRC) in Srinagar. - AFP
Labourers buy bus tickets at a counter of Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Reception Centre (JKTRC) in Srinagar. - AFP

INDIA, PAKISTAN: India on Thursday hit back at Pakistan’s downgrading of diplomatic ties over its clampdown on Kashmir, saying its decision to strip the restive region of its autonomy was an “internal affair”.

India stripped Kashmir of its special status in the constitution on Monday and brought the region under its direct rule, angering Pakistan which has a competing claim to the Muslim-majority state.

Pakistan responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with India Wednesday, announcing that it would expel the Indian envoy and suspend trade as the row between the neighbours deepened.

The countries have fought two wars over Kashmir.

“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

“Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed.” New Delhi slammed Pakistan’s actions as “alarmist”, adding that its move would boost economic development in the Himalayan region.

Islamabad has called for the international community to intervene and vowed to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council. “We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their” envoy, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced in televised comments Wednesday. The statement, released after Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a fresh meeting of the National Security Committee, branded Modi’s decree “unilateral and illegal” and said there will be a “review of bilateral arrangements”.

The Pakistani statements came as Washington refuted reports that it had been consulted by Delhi over the move in Kashmir.

Earlier this week the US called for peace and urged respect for rights in Kashmir.

China, which also claims part of Kashmir, has objected to Delhi’s “unacceptable” moves on Kashmir.

Kashmir was previously a semi-autonomous state with its own flag and constitution, where only local residents could buy land or take government jobs. Its new status is as a territory directly ruled by New Delhi. Modi’s government insists this will bring peace and prosperity, but experts warned the move is a gamble that could trigger conflict with Pakistan and re-ignite the insurgency.

The summer capital Srinagar, the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir, appeared a ghost town Wednesday as a security lockdown took hold under tens of thousands of additional troops. - AFP

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