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“PoK is very much a part of India…we were made to forget about it”: EAM Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Photo: ANI)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is part of India and added that there is a resolution of the Indian Parliament which states that PoK is part of the country.

He noted that people were made to forget about PoK, however, it is now back in the consciousness of the people of India.

Asked about India’s plans for PoK during an interactive session in Cuttack, Jaishankar responded, “PoK has never been out of this country. It is part of this country. There is a resolution of the Indian Parliament that PoK is very much a part of India. Now, how did PoK, how did other people get control? You know, when you have someone who is not a responsible custodian of a house, someone steals from outside. Now, here you have allowed another country.”

“You know, it was because we did not pursue the vacation of Pakistan from these territories in the early years of their independence that this very sorry state of affairs is continuing. So, what will happen in the future? Very difficult to tell. But, I always tell people one thing today PoK is in the consciousness once again of the people of India. We had forgotten about it. We were made to forget about it. That it is today back definitely, the fact you are asking me a question is, I think, something which is very good,” he added.

He also spoke about the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed that it should have been abrogated a long time back. Jaishankar noted that a feeling of separatism and extremism existed in Jammu and Kashmir when Article 370 remained in effect.

Addressing the critiques of the abrogation of Article 370, Jaishankar said that it was a temporary provision in the constitution and it had to be removed. He stated that Article 370 continued in Jammu and Kashmir as people had a vested interest.

Jaishankar said, “The biggest problem we had was Article 370. It was a problem because so long as Article 370 continued, in Jammu and Kashmir, a feeling of separatism, of extremism, sometimes I would even say support for violence, was created. This was done because of political interests of some parties, some parties at the center and some parties in Jammu and Kashmir and this step which happened in 2019 should have happened a long time ago.”

“Unfortunately, we did not have a Modi Sarkar till recently. And it was frankly an agenda that should have been done because it was a temporary provision of the constitution. You know, people debate saying, was it right? Was it wrong? In the constitution, it was written there, this is a temporary provision. What does temporary mean? That it comes to an end. This was to happen. Unfortunately, it was continued because people had vested interest,” he added.

Earlier in April, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that considering the development taking place in India, the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) will themselves demand to be with India.

“Don’t worry. PoK was, is and will remain ours,” Singh said, addressing a rally at West Bengal’s Darjeeling on Sunday, where the BJP had nominated sitting MP Raju Bista.

“India’s power is increasing…India’s prestige is increasing around the world, and our economy is fast progressing. Now our brothers and sisters in PoK will themselves demand to come with India,” Singh further said.