External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that it will not be possible to clamp down on terrorists without having any impact on the rest of Kashmir. Jaishankar, in an interview to a global news publication, said that communication restrictions were necessary since it would help to stop contact between terrorists, and that cannot be achieved without having any impact on the rest of the region. Article 370 in relation to J&K was abrogated in August thereby unifying the state with the rest of the country like never before and bringing it fully under the Constitution of India.
Taking on Pakistan without naming it, Jaishankar asked, “How do I cut off communications between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know.”
Jaishankar was speaking in reference to the restrictions imposed across Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370's abrogation in order to maintain the safety and security of citizens. In the weeks since then a number of the restrictions have been eased, with communications lines open for a majority of districts in J&K, though restrictions on mobile Internet remain for reasons such as those specified by the External Affairs Minister.
Along with communication services starting to be opened up, over the last few weeks the on ground normalcy has also been evident in most parts with schools have opened and government offices also being operational. Jaishankar reiterated the government's position to ease the restrictions over the next few days. He said, "I would suggest to you that in the coming days you will see an easing up progressively”. He added that the police and military forces who were deployed in the region would be released and moved back to their original stations since "they have other jobs and other things to do."
Jaishankar was speaking at the sidelines of meetings with European Union leaders such as David Sassoli, President of the EU Parliament, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief in Brussels. In the interview, Jaishankar also rejected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's invitation to conduct an "open dialogue" on the issue. The Pakistan PM had written an op-ed in the New York Times on Friday seeking for a dialogue between the two countries. India's stand has consistently been 'end terrorism for talks', while Pakistan's recent statements and efforts have hardly been along the same lines.