Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale in conversation with ANI on Wednesday. Photo/ANI
Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale in conversation with ANI on Wednesday. Photo/ANI

Overreaction: Former diplomats criticise Pak's decision to downgrade bilateral ties with India

ANI | Updated: Aug 07, 2019 23:06 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 7 (ANI): Former diplomats on Wednesday criticised Pakistan's decision to downgrade bilateral ties with India, terming the move as an "overreaction."
"I think that this is an overreaction by Pakistan. The step that India has taken in the last two days in scrapping Article 370 and change the way we govern Jammu and Kashmir is purely internal, it is a domestic decision of India. So, Pakistan has no locus standi on it," former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale told ANI.
Commenting on Pakistan's decision to stop bilateral trade with India, he said, "As far as trade is concerned, there is very little trade between India and Pakistan, so if they want to stop that, they are most welcome to do it. But I feel, by sending back the High Commissioners, they are making a mistake because this was an important channel of communication between the two countries and two governments. By snapping this channel of communication....I think that is an overreaction."
When asked if Pakistan has talked of reviewing the agreements signed with India, he said that it will be very difficult to do so.
"I think that is very difficult to do. Because once any agreement is signed, then successive governments must stick by those agreements. An agreement is signed is normally for a certain period. So that period has to run out, only then you can decide whether not to extend the agreement," Bambawale said.
He also said that the international community has already seen that the steps taken by the Government of India in the last two days is an internal issue of India.
"I think the international community has already seen that the steps the Government of India has taken in the last two days is completely an internal issue of India. So, no other government has made really any great statement on it. So, I think Pakistan is overreacting," he said.
Another former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, TCA Raghavan, said not having diplomatic contact is not a good thing.
"Steps they have taken are to show their political constituencies that they are dealing with the matter. In any case, not having diplomatic contacts is not a good development," he said.
Former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider added, "I think there will be no significant impact. As of now as well, diplomatic relations are not so large scale."
Terming Pakistan's decision to not send its envoy as "regrettable", Haider said, "I have been a diplomat myself and I think diplomats play an important role in talks. If they don't get the way, there will be no talks. I believe that slowly, this issue will be resolved."
Former Minister of External Affairs, Salman Khurshid while commenting on the development said, "What benefit will they get from it? These are short-sighted decisions. It is only they who will suffer losses. But if they want to take a symbolic decision, it is their choice."
Pakistan on Wednesday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend all bilateral trade in the wake of Indian government's decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and to make it a Union Territory.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee and discussed the situation arising out of the "unilateral illegal" actions by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC).
In the meeting, the Committee decided to downgrade all diplomatic relations with India and review all bilateral arrangements with New Delhi. It further noted that the matter would be taken to the United Nations, including the UN Security Council, the government said in a tweet.
Pakistan also asked the Indian government to call back its High Commissioner to Islamabad Ajay Bisaria following the Centre's decision to scrap Article 370.
New Delhi was also informed that Islamabad would not be sending its high commissioner-designate to India, Moin-ul-Haq.
Haq is currently in Pakistan and was expected to officially take charge on August 16.
(ANI)

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