Gaurav Ahluwalia, First Secretary (Political and Information) of the High Commission of India has sent us the following right of reply in response to a Pakistan High Commission statement published last week. His letter says: I write to you with regard to a piece published in page 8 of the of the International section of [...]

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No compromise, J&K an integral part of India, says Indian HC

Right of Reply

Gaurav Ahluwalia, First Secretary (Political and Information) of the High Commission of India has sent us the following right of reply in response to a Pakistan High Commission statement published last week. His letter says:

I write to you with regard to a piece published in page 8 of the of the International section of the Sunday Times on 27 October 2013 titled “Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and world over will observe October 27 as Black Day” placed by the Pakistan High Commission.

The claims made in the piece constitute a clear interference in the internal affairs of India and we reject them in their entirety. It is ironical that these comments have been made by a country which is persisting with its illegal occupation of a part of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. I summarise below the key points of our position on Jammu & Kashmir in response to the gratuitous references from the Pakistan High Commission about the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. I do hope that your esteemed newspaper will carry the response in its entirety to give the true picture to your readers.

Accession to India

The Accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India, signed by the Maharaja (erstwhile ruler of the State) on 26 October, 1947, was completely valid in terms of the Government of India Act (1935), Indian Independence Act (1947) and international law and was total and irrevocable. The Accession was also supported by the largest political party in the State, the National Conference. In the Indian Independence Act there was no provision for any conditional accession.

The Instrument of Accession executed by the Maharaja was the same as the ones executed by over 500 princely states in India. There has been no complication in any of the other cases. There would have been none in this case either, except for Pakistan’s action in sending tribal invaders first (in October 1947) and its own regular troops later (May 1948). Lord Mountbatten’s acceptance of the Instrument of Accession was unconditional. He said: “I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession”. The Instrument of Accession was complete with the offer and acceptance.

Reference to UN

India made a reference to the United Nations on 01 January 1948 under Article 35 of the Charter, which permits any member state to bring any situation, whose continuance is likely to endanger international peace and security, to the attention of the Security Council. The intention behind this reference was to prevent a war between the two newly independent countries, which would have become increasingly likely if the tribal invaders assisted, first indirectly and then actively, by the Pakistan Army had persisted with their actions against India in Kashmir.

Non-implementation of UN Resolutions by Pakistan

India had made it clear that full implementation of the UN Resolutions would be conditional upon Pakistan fulfilling Parts (I) and (II) of the UNCIP Resolutions of 13 August 1948, which inter alia, required that all forces, regular and irregular, under the control of both sides shall cease fire; Pakistan would withdraw its troops, and it would endeavour to secure withdrawal of tribesmen and Pak nationals. Indian acceptance of these UNCIP Resolutions was also subject to several conditions and assurances given by UNCIP, including that Pakistan would be excluded from all affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, “Azad J&K Government” would not be recognised, sovereignty of J&K Government over the entire territory of the State shall not be brought into question, territory occupied by Pakistan shall not be consolidated, and Pakistani troops would be withdrawn completely.

Pakistan never fulfilled these assurances because it was fully aware of what the result of such an exercise would be. India had accepted these Resolutions subject to assurances (mentioned above) and in the hope of having the matter resolved quickly. Pakistan, however, wrecked the implementation of the Resolution at that time by not fulfilling the pre-conditions. With Pakistan’s intransigence, and passage of time, the offer lapsed and was overtaken by events. Today, Pakistani position on the issue of holding a Plebiscite is even more untenable.

Choice made by the people of J&K and elections in Kashmir

India waited several years for Pakistan to fulfill the pre-conditions for the Plebiscite. When that did not happen, the people of Jammu and Kashmir then convened a Constituent Assembly in 1951, which once again re-affirmed the Accession of the State to India in 1956 and finalised the Constitution for the State. In several subsequent local, state and national elections the people of Jammu and Kashmir have repeatedly exercised their democratic choice. Pakistan’s persistent claim that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have no desire to live in democratic India and that the terrorist acts in the State are part of a “freedom struggle” received a further jolt when the findings of a survey conducted in J&K by the respected London-based independent market research company, MORI International, were unveiled on 30 May 2002.

The survey revealed, inter alia, that on the issue of citizenship, overall 61 per cent of Kashmiris said that they felt they would be better off politically and economically as citizens of India and only 6 per cent expressed a preference for Pakistani nationality. Over 2/3rd of the respondents in J&K took the view that Pakistan’s involvement in the region had been “bad” and the presence of foreign militants in the State had been damaging.

Shimla Agreement

Pakistan imposed a war on India in 1971. After this conflict, the ‘Shimla Agreement’ was signed on 02 July 1972. In terms of this Agreement, which was duly ratified by the two Governments in 1972 itself, the two countries undertook to resolve all differences bilaterally and peacefully. While India is prepared to resolve all differences with Pakistan through bilateral talks as envisaged in the Shimla Agreement, there can be no compromise on India’s unity and sovereignty.

The issue that remains to be resolved is the vacation by Pakistan of the territory illegally occupied by it. Pakistan must create the right climate by stopping its support to terrorism. There must be tangible and credible evidence for this on the ground. The Shimla Agreement, reiterated in the Lahore Declaration, expressly forbids hostile propaganda, interference in internal affairs and encouragement of any acts detrimental to maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations. It also enjoins respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Pakistan is violating all of these.

Developments in J&K – an internal matter for India

Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. There can be no compromise on India’s unity and integrity. We remain determined and totally committed to resist terrorism and violence until it is decisively eliminated. Clearly, in Jammu and Kashmir we have met the challenges posed by terrorists and have succeeded in defeating their designs.

Through consistent efforts and commitment we have been able to bring about normal conditions in J&K. We have a duly elected Government in J&K through a credible electoral process and are confident that we would move forward in reviving the economy, accelerating developmental activities and addressing other issues and problems of the people of J&K.

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