India on Thursday hit back at Pakistan’s downgrading of diplomatic ties over its clampdown on Kashmir, saying its decision to strip the restive region of its autonomy was an “internal affair”.
“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed.”
New Delhi slammed Pakistan’s actions as “alarmist”, adding that its move would boost economic development in the Himalayan region.
India stripped Kashmir of its special status in the constitution on Monday and brought the region under its direct rule, angering Pakistan which has a competing claim to the Muslim-majority state.
Pakistan responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with India Wednesday, announcing that it would expel the Indian envoy and suspend trade as the row between the neighbors deepened.
The countries have fought two wars over Kashmir.
Tens of thousands of Indian troops are enforcing the lockdown which includes no internet or phone services, and are allowing only limited movement on streets usually bustling with tourists flocking to the picturesque valley.
Experts warn that the valley is likely to erupt in anger at the government’s shock unilateral move once the restrictions are lifted, which could come as soon as the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha on Monday.