Home Explainer ‘Due To Somebody’s Weakness & Mistakes’: Jaishankar On PoJK

‘Due To Somebody’s Weakness & Mistakes’: Jaishankar On PoJK

Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) went out of India’s hand “temporarily” due to “somebody’s weakness and mistakes”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said. There was no explicit mention of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru or the first Congress government he helmed in Independent India. But the message hit home at the public event in Nashik where the minister spoke.

The minister was asked a direct question: How would China react if India were to cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and merge PoJK?

No ‘Lakshman Rekha’

“I don’t think there’s any ‘Lakshman Rekha’. PoJK is part of India”, Jaishankar said. “At one point, due to somebody’s weakness, somebody’s mistakes, PoJK temporarily slipped out of India’s hands.”

There’s a resolution passed unanimously by our Parliament (in 1994 when PV Narasimha Rao was prime minister) that India will take back territory illegally occupied by Pakistan, Jaishankar said.

India Sovereign Claimant

Recalling his tenure as India’s ambassador to China, Jaishankar unequivocally said India is the sovereign claimant to PoJK. “Pakistan does not say PoJK is part of it, nor does China claim it as theirs.”

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In 1963, Pakistan handed over around 5000 square kilometres of occupied territory (Shaksgam Valley) to China, as part of the boundary deal signed between the two countries. Even that agreement says China will eventually respect whether this territory goes to India or Pakistan, said Jaishankar.

“There’s a disputed land but somebody occupies it and starts making buildings there though I have the legal title.”

Jaishankar claimed the abrogation of Article 370 had made people more aware of the PoJK issue. “10 years ago, nobody would talk about it (PoJK). But now, people believe this government has the guts to complete what’s left.” There was thunderous applause from the audience.

There has been an uptick in public protests in PoJK of late. Residents complain about high prices of staples and a steep rise in electricity tariff. And many wonder how the grass is actually greener on the other side of the fence, in J&K.