Pakistan Thursday agreed to review the downgrading of diplomatic ties with India only if New Delhi decided to reconsider its move regarding Kashmir. Earlier today, New Delhi expressed regret over Pakistan’s move and urged Islamabad to review its decision so that “normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.”
“Are they ready to review their decisions? If they do, we can also review our decisions. Review will be on both sides. That is what Simla (agreement) says, PTI quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying.
In a news conference in Islamabad, Qureshi said that Pakistan is not looking at military action, adding, “Don’t we reserve a right to respond in case of any aggression,” Reuters reported.
Reiterating that developments pertaining to Article 370 are an internal matter, India said it was not surprised that developmental initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir are “negatively perceived” in Pakistan. “The Constitution of India was, is and will always be a sovereign matter. Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Pakistan on Wednesday expelled the Indian envoy in Islamabad and announced a downgrade of its ties with India and suspension of bilateral trade, in response to the government’s decision to scrap the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.Pakistan also said it would not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India.
Calling out Islamabad, India said the reasons cited by the Imran Khan-led government are “not supported by facts.” “The intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties,” it added. It also said that the recent decisions taken in Jammu and Kashmir are driven by a commitment to extend “developmental opportunities” to the state that it was earlier denied due to a temporary provision in the Constitution.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan NCS called India’s move to revoke Article 370 as “unilateral and illegal” and Imran Khan directed the country’s armed forces to continue vigilance. Earlier, Khan also voiced apprehension that Pulwama-like attacks could follow the Centre’s move, which could even trigger a conventional war between Pakistan and India.
Sources said the suspension of bilateral trade will have minimal impact since there is very little trade between the two countries. The official bilateral trade is worth $2 billion, although informal trade takes place via Dubai and other Middle-East countries and is estimated to be $6 billion.