Article 370 was allowed due to vested interests; PoK happened as ‘custodian’ was not responsible: EAM

New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that the now-scrapped Article 370 was allowed to be continued in Jammu and Kashmir due to “vested interests”, and the part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s occupation was allowed to be taken away as India was being headed by “someone who is not a responsible custodian of a house”.

Answering questions during an interaction in Cuttack, the EAM, on the question of if India can take back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, said:

“The biggest problem was Article 370; and so long as it continued, a feeling of separatism, of extremism and even of violence was created. This was done because of political interest of some parties at the Centre and in J&K. And this step that happened in 2019 (scrapping of Article 370) should have been done earlier; it was a temporary provision of the Constitution, it was unfortunately continued because people have vested interests.”

On the subject of PoK, he said:

“PoK has never been out of the country, it is part of this country; there is a resolution of the Indian Parliament that PoK is very much a part of India,” he said to loud applause.

“How did other people get control? It happens when you have someone who is not a responsible custodian of a house, someone from outside steals it.

“Here you have allowed another country; it was because we did not pursue the vacation of Pakistan from these territories in the early years after independence that this sorry state of affairs continued.

“So, what will happen in the future, it is very difficult to tell. But today PoK is once again in the consciousness of the people of India. We had forgotten about it, we were made to forget about it; the fact that such a question is being asked today is something very valid,” he said.

On Saturday, answering a similar question in Bhubaneswar, on the question of taking back PoK and Aksai Chin, he said:

“Sometimes mistakes which previous leaders or governments make can have very far-reaching consequences. Even after what happened in Aksai Chin, it took a Modi government to make border infrastructure a priority, because in Aksai Chin we didn’t even know they were building a road. That was the extent of our limitations.

“And in the case of PoK, going to the UN that itself was a big mistake, and then actually agreeing to whatever was agreed to at the time in a ceasefire agreement. Sometimes these are very complicated, very difficult, inheritance, legacies of history that you get. There is no easy answer to it.

“But this much I can tell you, 10 years ago nobody in this country was talking about PoK; I mean, think back, the fact that you are asking me the question itself is a beginning, and everything starts with a beginning,” to loud applause.

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