Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that if talks were to be held between New Delhi and Islamabad, they would not be about Jammu and Kashmir but only about Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
His comments continued a trend of tough-talking by India amid escalating tensions with Pakistan over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, including a hint at a possible revision of New Delhi’s no-first-use nuclear policy.
“If talks are held with Pakistan, it will now be on PoK,” Rajnath told a rally in Haryana, where Assembly elections are due in October.
“If at all there has to be any dialogue with Pakistan, it will only happen when it stops aiding and abetting terrorism,” he added, reaffirming a stated government position.
Rajnath said the people of Pakistan wanted a dialogue between the two countries.
On Friday, the defence minister had tweeted that the future of India’s no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons would “depend on the circumstances”, a remark that sparked speculation about a possible revision of the 16-year-old policy.
On Sunday, Rajnath also referred to Friday’s United Nations Security Council meeting on Kashmir — the first in nearly half a century — held on a request from Pakistan that China had backed up.
“Our neighbour is knocking on the doors of the international community saying India made a mistake,” he said.
There was no statement from the Security Council after the meeting, and most of its members suggested that India and Pakistan should settle the Kashmir dispute bilaterally.
New Delhi and Islamabad, which were not part of the closed-door discussions, later launched into high-decibel campaigns, each claiming a measure of success for itself.
Rajnath said that Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was taken away for the cause of the region’s development.
“Have we committed any crime? They (Pakistan) are trying to threaten us but America, perceived as the most powerful country in the world, has snubbed Pakistan and has told it to initiate a dialogue with India,” he said.
Rajnath accused Pakistan of seeking to destabilise and weaken India through terrorism.