Jammu: Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said India stands committed to retrieving Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) and it was the only outstanding issue between the two countries.
“There is no such issue as Kashmir issue and Jammu & Kashmir is as similar and as much a part of India as any other state or Union Territory,” he said.
Referring to a resolution of Parliament passed in 1994 wherein it was unanimously accepted by all parties that Pakistan has to vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, the minister said these areas continue to remain under illegal occupation of the neighbouring country even after so many years.
“India stands committed to retrieving Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir and that is the only issue outstanding between India and Pakistan,” he told PTI.
Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, addressed a series of public meetings during the District Development Council (DDC) election campaign along the International Border (IB) in Khour, Pargwal and other areas in Jammu district.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it possible to take decisions like abrogation of Article 370 and holding of DDC elections which were earlier considered impossible.
“Similarly, this task of retrieving PoJK will also be accomplished by the Modi government,” the minister said.
Singh claimed the people of PcK have been for a long time deprived of the benefits of democracy, and it is the government”s commitment to them that it will make them a beneficiary of India”s democratic system with grassroots empowerment.
It is during the Modi government, said Singh, that two years back 4 per cent reservation was provided to the residents of IB on the same lines as to those living along the Line of Control (LoC).
He accused the earlier governments of playing vote bank politics and giving reservation to LoC areas “because they were getting their MLAs and ministers elected from those areas” but denied the same benefit to the children living in the adjacent part of the border because they did not constitute their vote bank.
“The Modi government has corrected this inhuman injustice to the youth of this area,” the minister added.
Singh also claimed that work of construction of bunkers and roads bridges which had been pending for the last seven decades in the border areas has been taken up only in the last 5-6 years.
Keeping An Eye On China’s Dam Project: India
Amidst reports that China plans to build a major dam on the Brahmaputra, India on Thursday said it “carefully monitors” all developments relating to the river, and that it intends to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard its interests.
The Brahmaputra river, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese side has conveyed to India on several occasions that it was only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects, which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra.
He was asked about media reports that China will build a ”super dam” on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangbo river in Tibet.
“We have taken note of some media reports in this regard. Government carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra river,” Srivastava said.
Noting that issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalised expert-level mechanism which was established in 200 as well as through diplomatic channels, the MEA spokesperson said, “We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests.”
The MEA spokesperson also said that “as a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.”
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said there is no need to have “any anxiety” over the project and that China will continue to have “good communication” with lower riparian states – India and Bangladesh.
On China’s plans to build the dam over the river near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Arunachal Pradesh where the Brahmaputra enters India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that the “hydropower development in the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river is China’s legitimate right. When it comes to use and development of cross border rivers, China always acts responsibly.”
“We have a policy featuring development and conservation and all projects will go through science-based planning and assessment giving full consideration to impact downstream and accommodating the interests of upstream and downstream regions,” Hua said.
“The development of lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo is in the early stages of planning and assessment. There is no need to read too much into that,” she said, and added that “going forward China, India, Bangladesh and other concerned countries will continue to have good communication. There is no need for any anxiety on this matter.”
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