Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reminded Islamabad of the 1971 war, when East Pakistan broke away from its western wing to form Bangladesh. Singh said something similar could happen to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir if Islamabad did not mend its ways, PTI reported.
“Pakistan broke up in 1971. Pakistan and Bangladesh were formed,” Singh said at an event in Jaipur in the memory of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay. “I am saying do not repeat the mistake, or else understand clearly what will happen to PoK.”
Singh said India has left 24 Assembly seats vacant in Jammu and Kashmir for the part controlled by Pakistan, and does not accept Islamabad’s occupation of the area.
Singh also said that India took precaution not to attack the Pakistani Army during the Balakot air strikes on February 26. India had launched air strikes in Pakistan in response to a Jaish-e-Mohammad attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy 12 days earlier, that killed 40 jawans.
“We took great precaution and did not attack Pakistan or its Army,” the defence minister said. “We targeted only terror training camps in Balakot. But if it [terrorism] continues like this, then things may change.”
On Monday, Army Chief Bipin Rawat hinted that India may go beyond the Balakot strikes if Pakistan continued to push militants across the Line of Control into the country.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated again on August 5 after New Delhi abrogated the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. In response, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties, broke off trade relations, and wrote letters to the United Nations.
On Wednesday, Singh said Pakistan had been unable to digest India’s abrogation of special status to Kashmir, but will ultimately have to accept it. “This promise to scrap Article 370 was included in BJP’s election manifestos,” Singh said. “With abrogation of Article 370, BJP has proved that there is no difference in the words and deeds of the party.” The defence minister claimed that even Muslims in India had welcomed the rescinding of the special status.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that war could break out between the two countries following India’s actions in Kashmir. He also expressed disappointment with the world community for not chiding India over Kashmir.
India imposed a communications blackout, detained Kashmiri political leaders and put restrictions on public movement on August 5 before revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. It also split it into two Union Territories. Though India has claimed that the situation is getting back to normal and communication restrictions are being lifted gradually, activists and journalists claim the curbs are still in place in most places in the state.
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