India urges Pakistan to review its decisions to downgrade ties

Calling its steps in Jammu and Kashmir as an “entirely internal affair”, India on Thursday rejected Pakistan’s unilateral move to downgrade diplomatic ties and asked Islamabad to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.

Reacting to Pakistan’s “unilateral” decision on Wednesday in respect of bilateral relations with India, the External Affairs Ministry issued a statement which said the recent developments relating to Art 370 are entirely the internal affair of India.

“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,” it said.

“The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved,” the ministry said.

Last night after a meeting of the Nartional Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan decided to downgrade diplomatic ties. It asked India to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan and also decided not to send its High Commissioner-designate to New Delhi. It also partially shut off its airspace and suspended bilateral trade with India.

Pakistan’s decision came after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status along with bifurcating the state into two Union Territories–Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The MEA statement said, “The intention behind these (Pakistan’s) measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground.”

The ministry outlined that India’s decisions are driven by a commitment to extending to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution.

“Its impact would also result in the removal of gender and socio-economic discrimination. It is also expected to result in an upswing of economic activity and improvement in the livelihood prospects of all people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement said.

“It is not surprising that such developmental initiatives that could address any disaffection in Jammu and Kashmir should be negatively perceived in Pakistan, which has utilized such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism,” the ministry added.

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