Two days after Pakistan, through a note verbale, proposed sending supplies to Jammu and Kashmir, India on Sunday called the offer “absurd” and said that the region has received enough of Pakistan’s “trademark exports”, including terrorism, infiltrators and narcotics.
This sharply worded barb, devoid of diplomatic couching, by the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, came even as Pakistan’s envoy Abdul Basit said in New Delhi on Sunday that Pakistan was dedicating its Independence Day to Kashmir’s “freedom”.
In Islamabad, speaking in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain said the country will continue to support Kashmiris in their bid for the right to self-determination.
While statements from Hussain and Basit came during the flag-hoisting ceremonies to mark their 70th Independence Day, Swarup made his statement in Delhi hours later, marking a new low in the rhetoric-filled discourse between the two countries.
The spokesperson said, “A communication was apparently delivered to our High Commission in Islamabad on August 12. I can only characterise its contents that propose sending supplies to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as absurd. India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s trademark exports — international terrorism, cross-border infiltrators, weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
Swarup also said that the MEA “completely and categorically” rejected the communication from Pakistan.
Basit raised Kashmir during the Sunday morning flag-hoisting ceremony on the Pakistan High Commission premises. “As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we are dedicating this year’s Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir. And we firmly believe that the sacrifices made by the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not go in vain.”
Promising support to Kashmir, he added, “The ongoing unrest should be ended. Pakistan will continue to extend its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir till they get their right to self determination.”
No matter “how much” force is used, Basit said, the political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be suppressed, and the “freedom movement” would reach its logical conclusion.
Basit also said that while Pakistan has always strived for better ties with India on the basis of sovereign equality and peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes, no one could “belittle” or wish away the “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiri people. It was incumbent upon the international community to ensure implementation of the relevant UN resolutions to settle the dispute, he said.
“Today our nation faces several challenges, but no power can cause any damage to Pakistan. People who want to trouble Pakistan, they should know that our people, be it Muslim, Hindu or Sikh, we are together and will not hesitate to make any sacrifice for Pakistan’s well-being,” he said.
On Saturday, New Delhi had rejected Pakistan’s offer for a dialogue on J&K, seeking an end to Pakistan-supported cross-border terrorism first. It also called for talks on “contemporary and relevant issues” in India-Pakistan relations — including an end to Pakistani support for cross-border terrorism, and to infiltration of terrorists, such as Bahadur Ali; to incitement to violence and terrorism across the border; to parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin; and also a sincere follow-up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation in Pakistan.