India urges Pakistan to review decision to downgrade diplomatic ties

NEW DELHI, India on Thursday urged neighboring Pakistan to review its decision to downgrade diplomatic relations in the backdrop of New Delhi’s decision to repeal a constitutional provision giving special status to Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

A statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said the Indian government “regrets steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.

“We have seen reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain unilateral actions in respect to its bilateral relations with India. This includes the downgrading of our diplomatic relations. The intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground,” the statement said.

However, the ministry justified the move to repeal Article 370 of Indian constitution awarding special status for Jammu and Kashmir saying it was “driven by a commitment to extend to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution.” The move would improve economic activity and better the livelihood prospects of the people in the state. The ministry also accused Pakistan of misusing disaffection in the Valley to justify cross-border terrorism.

“It is not surprising that such developmental initiatives that could address any disaffection in Jammu and Kashmir should be negatively perceived in Pakistan, which has utilized such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism,” the statement further statted.

India also asserted that the recent developments pertaining to Article 370 of the Indian constitution are entirely part of internal matters and stressed the “constitution of India was, is and will always be a sovereign matter.” Pakistan on Wednesday downgraded its diplomatic ties with India following New Delhi’s unilateral decision to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state.

Pakistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced yesterday “Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back.” Pakistan also decided to end bilateral trade with India and partially closed airspace for Indian flights.

Source: Kuwait News Agency