March 2004 News

Kashmir belongs to India: BJP

30 March 2004
The Dawn
Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI: India's Hindu revivalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seeking a fourth term in office for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in elections next month, said on Tuesday that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir belonged to India. The Vision Document 2004, containing the party's electoral promises, said 'The unity of India is not only sacred to the BJP, but also a paramount commitment. 'We have always believed that Jammu and Kashmir, including the PoK (Pakistan- occupied Kashmir), is an integral part of India,' it said. The document also ruled out any solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute based on a 'redrawing (of) national boundaries'. The BJP's stand is not very different from a resolution passed by the Indian parliament during Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's administration, claiming entire Jammu and Kashmir Kashmir as part of India. However, parliamentary resolutions have not always been adhered to in spirit. The one condemning the invasion of Iraq by American forces is today seen as a mere formal statement with very little clout to influence New Delhi's policies vis a vis the United States in Iraq or elsewhere. The Bharatiya Janata Party document, apparently aiming to win over the rightwing Hindu extremists, also reaffirmed that it remains committed to building a temple at the site where the Babri masjid stood in Ayodhya.


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