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S Jaishankar calls Pakistan-occupied Kashmir integral part of India


New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reiterated on Sunday that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India, emphasizing a resolution passed by the Indian Parliament affirming the same.

He remarked that despite efforts to sideline the issue, PoK has regained prominence in the consciousness of the Indian people.

Responding to queries about India's stance on PoK during an interactive session in Cuttack, Jaishankar asserted, "PoK has never been out of this country. It is part of this country. There is a resolution of the Indian Parliament that PoK is very much a part of India."

Reflecting on the history of the region, Jaishankar attributed the situation to past neglect, stating, "It was because we did not pursue the vacation of Pakistan from these territories in the early years of their independence that this very sorry state of affairs is continuing."

Regarding the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Jaishankar emphasized that the move was long overdue. He highlighted the negative impact of Article 370, fostering separatism and extremism in the region.

Jaishankar addressed critiques of the abrogation, stating, "The biggest problem we had was Article 370. It was a problem because so long as Article 370 continued, in Jammu and Kashmir, a feeling of separatism, of extremism, sometimes I would even say support for violence, was created."

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also echoed similar sentiments in April, expressing confidence that the people of PoK would eventually seek to be part of India. He affirmed, "Don't worry. PoK was, is, and will remain ours."

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