PoJK ‘temporarily’ slipped away due to someone’s weakness or mistake: EAM  

Nashik, May 16: In a veiled swipe at the country’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said India lost its hold on Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) due to “someone’s weakness or mistake”.

Jaishankar made the remarks while addressing a programme event titled ‘Vishwabandhu Bharat’

To a question on what would China’s response be if India crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and integrated PoJK to the Union of India, given that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan, the External Affairs Minister said, “I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a ‘Lakshman Rekha’. I think PoJK is a part of India, and due to someone’s weakness or mistake, it’s temporarily slipped away from us.”

Reaffirming the parliamentary resolution to reclaim PoJK, the career diplomat and former ambassador to Beijing highlighted the historical context of China’s involvement in the region, stressing that neither Pakistan nor its neighbour can assert its sovereignty over PoJK, as India has a ‘legitimate claim’ over the territory.

“I was China’s ambassador, and we all are aware of China’s past actions and it working hand in glove with Pakistan… its old history. We repeatedly told them that this land, neither Pakistan nor China claims it as theirs. If there’s any sovereign claimant, it’s India. You’re occupying, you’re building there, but the legal title is mine,” Jaishankar added.

Invoking the 1963 agreement between Pakistan and China, Jaishankar noted that while Islamabad transferred a significant portion of the Pakistan-occupied territory to China as a gesture of friendship, the agreement stipulates that China will ultimately respect the territorial claims of either Pakistan or India.

“In 1963, Pakistan and China agreed to take their friendship forward, and to keep China close, Pakistan handed over about 5,000km of the Pakistan-occupied territory to China. It’s written in that agreement that eventually, China will respect whether this territory belongs to Pakistan or India. Sometimes people just grab territory, and then it’s about how to resolve it,” Jaishankar said.

Addressing the changing dynamics in the region, Jaishankar emphasised the need for India to assertively maintain its position via a vis PoJK, saying, “I think we need to keep our position very strong, we need to have confidence in ourselves. Ten years ago, none of you would talk like this, it’s a change… even the Indian public has confidence in this.”

Notably, the BJP leaders have been taking regular potshots at previous Congress governments under Pt Nehru and Indira Gandhi over the ceding of the island of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka while also invoking PoJK. (Agencies)


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