The prospect of development in Jammu and Kashmir is a direct threat to what Pakistan planned for the region from the past 70 years, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday while expressing hope that the situation in the region in the future would emulate that in North East region today.
“If we actually manage to get the development going in Kashmir, do understand that everything that the Pakistanis have planned for the last 70 years comes to naught. Therefore, that is something they would never let happen easily,” Jaishankar said.
The Minister’s comments came during a conversation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. Responding to a question on how India would address the challenges before it on the Kashmir situation, Jaishankar said, “India has experienced such challenges in its own north-east regions. Today you see northeast is largely peaceful. People are employed in gainful livelihood and not in throwing stones at security forces. The development card has actually worked in the northeast.”
Jaishankar said that the revocation of Article 370 of the constitution was a necessity in view of the “less economic activity” and security challenges in the region.
“The result of the (special status to Kashmir) was that you had less economic activity than the rest of India, you had a state which was socially, increasingly less aligned with the rest of the country. I mean pretty much every progressive legislation in the country over the last 20 years did not get to be enacted and applied in Kashmir,” he said.
He said that the “reactions” to the move on Kashmir were expected in light of the fact that “there are western interests built over 70 years: the local western interests, and the western interests across the border.”
The minister said that the restrictions imposed in the region are taken as precautions to ensure there is no loss of life. “And these are common-sense precautions, I mean, there is a lot of experience which has gone into that precaution.
“If you look at the events in 2016, we saw how the internet and social media was used to radicalise and to mobilise. So obviously, if you walk into this situation, you are not going to let the internet be used by people whose intentions are malevolent,’ Jaishankar said.