India regrets Pak decision to downgrade bilateral ties: MEA

Taking cognisance of reports that Pakistan has decided to take certain ‘unilateral actions’ in respect to its bilateral relations with India, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said New Delhi ‘regrets’ such steps and urged the western neighbour to “review them”

“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India,” the MEA statement said.
“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,” the statement said.

“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,” it said.
The statement also said, “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”.

The government also made it clear that “recent decisions” by the Government of India and Parliament 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”.

The MEA release said, “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.

“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 further said.

On Wednesday, after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a high-level meeting attended among others by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Islamabad asked India to withdraw it’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria.
A Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said on Wednesday night that New Delhi has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India.
In Delhi, BJP leader Ram Madhav said Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan has no locus standi on matters pertaining to that part of India.