A day after Pakistan expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and announced suspension of trade, in retaliation after India revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, India said that its move was driven by a commitment to bring development to the state that was "earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution".
In stinging remarks, India said that its developmental initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir would help to address disaffection among the people, and that it was not surprised at Pakistan perceiving it in a negative light as Islamabad "has utilized such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism".
It said the actions taken regarding Article 370 "are entirely the internal affair of India" and the Constitution of India "was, is and will always be a sovereign matter".
"Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed."
It also said that India "regrets the steps announced by Pakistan" and urged Islamabad "to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved".
Following is the full text:
On Pakistan's Unilateral Decision in respect of Bilateral Relations with India
We have seen reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain unilateral actions in respect to its bilateral relations with India. This includes the downgrading of our diplomatic relations. The 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.
2. Recent decisions by the Government and Parliament of India are driven by a commitment to extend to Jammu and Kashmir opportunities for development that were earlier denied by a temporary provision in the Constitution. Its impact would also result in the removal of gender and socio-economic discrimination. It is also expected to result in an upswing of economic activity and improvement in the livelihood prospects of all people of Jammu and Kashmir.
3. It is not surprising that such developmental initiatives that could address any disaffection in Jammu and Kashmir should be negatively perceived in Pakistan, which has utilized such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism.
4. 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. Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed.
5. The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.
( With inputs from IANS )