Pakistan says it’s going to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend trade with the neighbor state, dubbing New Delhi’s decision to revoke the autonomous status of Kashmir as “unilateral and illegal”.
Pakistan vowed to take the Kashmir issue to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), while Prime Minister, Imran Khan, told the Pakistani military to “continue vigilance.”
He was chairing a National Security Committee meeting, where it was also decided to review all ‘bilateral arrangements’. Islamabad also announced that India’s envoy to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, will be expelled from the country as part of the response measures.
Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan that has now been suspended amounted to around $2.5 billion last year. That’s roughly 3 percent of Islamabad’s total annual trade.
On Tuesday, India’s lower house of parliament has voted to downgrades the status of Kashmir from a state to a union territory, which will prevent the Muslim-majority region from making its own legislation. India believes the issue of Kashmir is an internal one. The country “will go on to further integrate Jammu and Kashmir to India for many generations ahead,” Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah told the parliament, naming the revocation of Kashmir autonomy a “historic” moment that should be “written with golden words in Indian history.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Imran Khan addressed his government on the Kashmir issue, warning that the move by New Delhi may lead to a conflict, in which Pakistan will fight to the end. “No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world,” the PM said.
Tensions have been high in the contested Himalayan region since February when Indian retaliatory airstrikes on a Pakistani-based terrorist group provoked a dogfight between the jets from the two countries.
Last week, New Delhi said it thwarted an “infiltration” attempt by Pakistani militants in Kashmir, with several cross-border shelling and gunfights taking place between the Pakistani and Indian troops.
India and Pakistan remain deadlocked since 1947 over Kashmir, which they each claim in full. The dispute is the reason for three wars between the neighbors.