India on Thursday played down the usage of “Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir” by the US in a statement issued during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying similar terms have been used in the past too.
On Monday, while designating Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”, the US State Department had said the militant group had claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir”, which injured 17 people.
Responding to a media query, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the use of the term ‘Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir’ merely affirmed the Indian position that Salahuddin had been involved in cross-border terrorism against India.
“Similar term has been used in the State Department’s country reports on terrorism brought out every year, including in the period 2010-2013, in the context of cross-border terrorism perpetrated on India. India’s consistent position that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India is well known,” he said.
Later Baglay said India?s position that the entire State of J&K is an integral part of India is well known and “the US government has been apprised of the same once again.” However, he did not give any details of when and how it was done.
The MEA spokesperson’s remarks came amid criticism by the Congress party over the acceptance of the term by the Modi government.
“US official statement used the phrase ‘Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir’. How did India accept this?” senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had asked in a tweet.
Baglay also said India has welcomed the designation of Salahuddin as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ by the US Administration and added that this long-awaited step had been under discussion.
“The Joint Statement issued on June 26, 2017 after Prime Minister’s talks with US President Trump is the strongest joint expression of the commitment of the two sides to be shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against terrorism and calls on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries,” he added.
Significantly, India had objected to the UN Human Rights chief’s usage of ‘Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir’ during a human rights council meeting at Geneva last September.
“The whole state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. The two cannot and should not be equated,” the Indian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said.
Unlike Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, India has an elected democratic government in place in J&K and, therefore, the UNs usage of the term ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ is “artificial”, India had argued.
During a country update, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had talked about the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and had publicly urged both the countries to grant his office access to “India-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir”.