Updated May 16th, 2024 at 16:30 IST

‘Someone’s Mistake’: EAM Jaishankar Takes Veiled Swipe at Nehru Over PoJK Loss

"I think PoJK is a part of India, and due to someone's weakness or mistake, it's temporarily slipped," said Jaishankar while addressing a programme event.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
jaishankar | Image:jaishankar
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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar came down heavily on India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Congress party on Thursday. Jaishankar stated that India's loss of control over Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) stemmed from "someone's weakness or mistake," sparking a debate on historical decisions and India's stance on the region. The Foreign Minister made the remarks while addressing a programme event titled 'Vishwabandhu Bharat’.

Jaishankar dismisses the notion of a Lakshman Rekha 

Responding to a query on potential Chinese reactions if India crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and integrated PoJk to the Union of India, given that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistanoccupied Gilgit Baltistank, Jaishankar dismissed the notion of a 'Lakshman Rekha' and reiterated India's claim over the territory. 

"I don't believe there's any such thing as a 'Lakshman Rekha'. I think PoJK is a part of India, and due to someone's weakness or mistake, it's temporarily slipped away from us,”he replied. 

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Drawing on his diplomatic experience, he emphasized that neither Pakistan nor China can assert sovereignty over PoJK, underscoring India's “legitimate claim.”

“I was China's ambassador, and we all are aware of China's past actions and it working hand in glove with Pakistan... its old history. We repeatedly told them that this land, neither Pakistan nor China claims it as theirs. If there's any sovereign claimant, it's India. You're occupying, you're building there, but the legal title is mine," Jaishankar added. 

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Jaishankar delved into the historical context, highlighting China's past collaboration with Pakistan and the 1963 agreement wherein Pakistan ceded a significant portion of PoJK to China. 

"In 1963, Pakistan and China agreed to take their friendship forward, and to keep China close, Pakistan handed over about 5,000km of the Pakistan-occupied territory to China. It's written in that agreement that eventually, China will respect whether this territory belongs to Pakistan or India. Sometimes people just grab territory, and then it's about how to resolve it," Jaishankar said.

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The Minister underscored the importance of India maintaining a strong stance on PoJK, especially amid changing regional dynamics. He urged confidence in India's position, noting a shift in public sentiment over the past decade.

"I think we need to keep our position very strong, we need to have confidence in ourselves. Ten years ago, none of you would talk like this, it's a change... even the Indian public has confidence in this,” said the career diplomat and former ambassador to Beijing

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Jaishankar's remarks come amidst ongoing political discourse, with BJP leaders frequently criticizing past Congress administrations for perceived diplomatic concessions, including the ceding of Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka and the handling of PoJK.

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Published May 16th, 2024 at 16:11 IST