The UN Security Council has made it clear to the world that Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is an integral part of India after Pakistan unsuccessfully sought a formal and open meeting on the territory which it considers as disputed.
At a closed-door meeting on Friday, nearly all Security Council members held the view that J&K’s full integration is India’s internal matter and the country achieved it in a democratic way by abrogating articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.
They also appreciated the measures taken by the Indian government to ease restrictions on communication and movement imposed in J&K after the parliament overwhelmingly voted to remove its special status on August 6.
Pakistan, China, a section of Western media, Amnesty, and some Congress leaders in India were giving an alarmist and distorted view on the J&K situation when not a bullet was fired and no violence or deaths were reported during the past 12 days.
According to latest reports, landline services have been restored in 17 of the hundred telephone exchanges in the sensitive Kashmir Valley while 2G mobile internet services resumed in five Jammu districts including Jammu, Reasi, Samba, Kathua and Udhampur.
Restrictions on phone services are being lifted in a phased manner because of the potential threat from terrorist groups who could use mobile connectivity to stage attacks.
All government offices were directed to resume normal functioning from Friday. Public transport services have started and schools will reopen on Monday.
Restrictions on the movement of people were eased on Saturday in 35 police station areas of Kashmir to facilitate the movement of state staff to their offices. Barricades remained on roads but people were allowed to proceed after showing their identity cards.
India’s envoy to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, told media in New York soon after Friday’s council meeting that any democracy will be forced to impose reasonable restrictions when there is potential threat to public order.
India has imposed some restrictions in J&K and it is committed to lifting them. Local administrators should be given time to remove them, he said.
This was the message given by Indian’s Supreme Court too while rejecting a slew of petitions seeking immediate restoration of phone services and movement in J&K.
Security Council members urged India and Pakistan to hold bilateral talks to peacefully solve problems such as cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations now that Kashmir issue has become a closed chapter.
Akbaruddin told media India is ready to hold talks after Pakistan stops exporting terror.
Pakistan will not be allowed to use terror as a means to achieve its goals. Terror and talks cannot go together. India is committed to the Shimla agreement and it is awaiting a response from Pakistan, he said.
Akbaruddin criticised Pakistan and China for airing negative views on J&K and trying to pass them off as the will of the international community.
Attacking critics of J&K’s integration, he said Indians do not need any outside advice on how to run their lives.
Despite the UN’s snub, Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi claimed victory arguing her country had managed to raise the voice of the Kashmiri people at the Security Council.
Earlier, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said although his country’s ‘no first use’ nuclear policy will continue, it may be reviewed if circumstances change.
Pakistan has stepped up sabre-rattling after J&K’s integration with India and Singh’s remark may be aimed at stopping it.