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Rajnath Singh asserts PoK belongs to India: “Was, is, and will remain ours”



Rajnath Singh asserts PoK belongs to India: "Was, is, and will remain ours"

On Wednesday, India’s Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, firmly stated that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India and will always remain so. He emphasized that the people of PoK will eventually demand to join India, driven by the rapid development and progress in Jammu and Kashmir. Rajnath Singh highlighted that the decision regarding PoK lies with the Union Home Ministry, which will make appropriate decisions in due course. He hinted at the possibility of elections in PoK but did not provide a specific timeline.

“The transformation in Jammu and Kashmir, with its economic progress and restored peace, will lead the people of PoK to seek a merger with India. We won’t need to use force; the demand will come from the people themselves,” Singh asserted.

The Defence Minister also predicted that the improved situation in Jammu and Kashmir might eventually render the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) unnecessary, although this decision rests with the Home Ministry.

AFSPA grants security forces the authority to conduct operations and make arrests without warrants and provides immunity in cases of shooting incidents.

Addressing Pakistan’s proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh warned Islamabad to cease cross-border terrorism, stating, “They are trying to destabilize India, and we will not allow it.”

Relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated significantly after India’s airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in February 2019, following the Pulwama terror attack. Tensions escalated further after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories on August 5, 2019.

India maintains that it seeks normal relations with Pakistan but insists that Islamabad must create a terror-free and non-hostile environment for such engagement.