India on Monday told foreign envoys, including representatives of the P5 powers, the government’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was purely an internal matter aimed at ensuring the region’s development and security, people familiar with developments said.
The envoys of the P5 or five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the US and the UK – were briefed on developments related to Kashmir by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, while the envoys of other countries were briefed by secretaries of the external affairs ministry looking after territorial divisions.
The briefings began late in the afternoon and continued till late evening, and the envoys and diplomats were given a rundown by senior officials on proposals introduced in Parliament to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution and for the administrative reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, the people cited above said.
Pakistan was not among the countries invited to the briefings and its mission in New Delhi didn’t seek a briefing, the people said.
Besides the P5 states, more briefings were arranged after members of the diplomatic community expressed interest in getting the Indian government’s take on the developments, the people said.
“It was highlighted that the proposals which are currently under consideration of the Parliament of India are internal to India. These are aimed at providing good governance, promoting social justice and ensuring economic development in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a person who didn’t want to be identified.
The briefings were held against the backdrop of moves by Pakistan to seek the world community’s intervention on the Kashmir issue. Pakistan’s Foreign Office rejected the Indian government’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and said such unilateral steps cannot change the state’s status as an “internationally recognised disputed territory”.
The Foreign Office spokesman said the Pakistan government would use all options to “counter the illegal steps” and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi noted that diplomatic efforts to counter the development would be stepped up.
However, the Indian government decided not to take the bait and respond to the Pakistan Foreign Office’s statement. An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that would have meant planning into Pakistan’s hands and internationalising what the government sees as an internal issue.