'Pray to God No One Gets Such a Neighbour': Rajnath Singh Hits Out at Pakistan Over Article 370
File photo of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hit out at Pakistan on Thursday after Islamabad suspended trade ties and expelled high commissioner Ajay Bisaria in protest against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal Article 370, saying he would pray that “no one gets such a neighbour”.
"We have our utmost apprehensions about our neighbour. The issue is that you can change friends but it is not in your hands to choose your neighbour. And the kind of neighbour who is next to us. I pray to god that no one gets such a neighbour," Singh said in his address to army veterans in Delhi.
On Wednesday, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India and followed it up with suspension of the Samjhauta Express service and a decision to not screen Indian films.
Reacting to the developments, India on Thursday termed Pakistan's actions an attempt to present an alarming picture to the world about the bilateral ties between the two neighbours and asked it to review its decisions.
The Ministry of External Affairs said the Constitution was, is and will always be a sovereign matter and recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely India's internal affair.
India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and has also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Reacting to the decision, Pakistan on Wednesday expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, soon after deciding to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi's "unilateral and illegal" move.
The MEA added that India's decisions on Jammu and Kashmir will 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," it 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 utilised such sentiments to justify its cross-border terrorism," it added.