"Political Absurdity": India's Sharp Response To New Pak "Political Map"

India reacted strongly to Pak PM Imran Khan releasing a new "political map" (File)

New Delhi:

The release of a new "political map" by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan - which includes Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and parts of western Gujarat as part of Pakistani territory - has drawn a sharp reaction from the government.

Describing it as "political absurdity" and a "ridiculous assertion", New Delhi tore into the claims, which come on the eve of the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370 and the splitting of J&K into two union territories.

"We have seen a so-called "political map" of Pakistan that has been released by Prime Minister Imran Khan. This is an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and our Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and of Ladakh," the government said.

"These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility. In fact, this new effort only confirms the reality of Pakistan's obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism," its response added.

Earlier today, the Pakistan Prime Minister unveiled the map that, he claimed, negated India's "illegal action of August last year" - a reference to the withdrawal of special privileges to J&K under Article 370.

He also claimed the map had been endorsed by Pakistan's cabinet, was backed by its political leadership and would be used in schools.

Mr Khan also said Pakistan would continue diplomatic efforts to resolve long-standing border disputes with India.

After the terror attack in J&K's Pulwama district last year, in which 40 CRPF soldiers died, India had retaliated by launching strikes at terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot.

Pakistan then repeatedly sought to raise the Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370 issues on the international forum, but failed to find support.

On the insistence of China, Pakistan's all-weather ally, the United Nations held a closed-door meeting on Article 370 in August last year. The global body refused to censure India, agreeing that J&K was an internal issue.

Except for China, the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council - France, Russia, the US and the UK - have consistently backed New Delhi's position that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral matters.

Pakistan's multiple efforts to initiate dialogue with India also fell flat, with New Delhi maintaining that terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.

India has also pointed out that Pakistan is still on the Grey List of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), after it failed to meet the global terror financing watchdog's deadline to stop funding of terror outfits operating from its soil.

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Early last month, during a United Nations virtual event on counter-terrorism, India called on Pakistan to "introspect why it is universally acknowledged as the international epicentre of terrorism".

A two-day curfew has, meanwhile, been announced in the Kashmir Valley for Tuesday and Wednesday. In the order, the Srinagar district magistrate said the administration had information about "separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as Black Day".