Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday blamed the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for “internationalising the Kashmir issue” by taking it to the United Nations.

She made the statement during a discussion on the Budget for Jammu and Kashmir in the Rajya Sabha.

“This issue shouldn’t have gone to a global forum,” Sitharaman said. “It’s an Indian issue. We could’ve handled it...We are handling it and showing the difference now.”

The minister said that even today, the “neighbouring country is misusing” the internationalisation of the Kashmir issue, in a reference to Pakistan.

In October 1947, Pakistani tribals supported by the country’s army entered the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, after which the state acceded to India. On December 30 that year, the Indian government approached the United Nations Security Council, asking it to direct Pakistan to stop the invasion.

On April 21, 1948, the council called for a ceasefire, and directed Pakistan to withdraw its forces from the state. It also directed India to reduce its forces to a minimum strength, and called for a plebiscite afterwards.

Responding to Sitharaman on Wednesday, Congress MP Anand Sharma said that India had not accepted the proposal of a plebiscite and that the matter before the United Nations was stopping the military conflict, according to The Indian Express.

“There were elected governments in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Sharma said. “Not only that, we fought wars and we made it very clear repeatedly, and this has been India’s consistent position, prior to 2014, that Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of the sovereign state of India.”

‘Terror has declined since Article 370 abrogation’

In the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman also claimed that terrorist activities declined 61% after the abrogation of Article 370, The Indian Express reported.

“There has been a 33% drop in infiltration attempts [51 in 2020 versus 34 in 2021], 90% decrease in ceasefire violations [937 in 2020 versus 98 in 2021],” she told Parliament.

Sitharaman added that 180 alleged militants were killed in 2021, while 38 alleged militants have been killed in 2022 till now.