India asks Pakistan to review downgrading of diplomatic relations

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday urged Pakistan to review diplomatic ties after Islamabad said they would downgrade diplomatic relations with the neighbouring country, days after New Delhi revoked occupied Kashmir of its special autonomy.

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“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

“The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved,” the statement added.

The statement further read, “recent decisions by the Government and Parliament of India are driven by a commitment to extend to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution. Its impact would also result in the removal of gender and socio-economic discrimination. It is also expected to result in an upswing of economic activity and improvement in the livelihood prospects of all people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Pakistan rejected India’s statement calling the worsening situation in occupied Kashmir its “internal affair”. Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal while briefing the media earlier today said, “Pakistan categorically rejects India’s [statement] that Kashmir is an internal matter,” as he reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue its political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris in achieving their right to self-determination.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had vowed to fight the issue “on every forum” and demanded the international community take action, accusing Modi of an anti-Muslim agenda.

The Pakistani military also expressed its firm commitment to “stand” with Kashmiris.

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