A day after Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with India and suspended bilateral trade, New Delhi has urged Islamabad to review measures so “normal channels of diplomatic communications are preserved”.
Pakistan’s decision came in a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday. India had on Monday abolished Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said “intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground.”
India’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir, the MEA added, is driven by a commitment to extend development opportunities denied to people earlier.
“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India. The Constitution of India was, is and will always be a sovereign matter,” the statement added.
India urged Pakistan to review its decisions so that “normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.”
Pakistan on Wednesday had expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade diplomatic ties and suspend bilateral trade with India.
“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in televised comments soon after the NSC meeting.
Later, the Foreign Office in a statement said that “Pursuant to the decision of the National Security Committee today, the Government of India has been told to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan.”
It, however, did not give any time line for India to pull back its envoy.
“The Indian Government has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India,” the statement said.
Pakistan’s new High Commissioner Moin-ul-Haq was expected to leave for India this month to take up his responsibilities.
The Committee decided “downgrading of diplomatic relations with India” and “suspension of bilateral trade with India,” a statement issued after the meeting read.
(With PTI inputs)