Leh: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday maintained a tough stand against Pakistan for the latter’s protest on various international forums against the revocation of Article 370 that pertained to J&K’s special status. (Also read: ‘Paramatma Kare Aisa Padosi Kisi ko na Mile,’ Says Rajnath on Pakistan)

Addressing the 26th ‘Kisan-Jawan Vigyan Mela’, Singh sought straight answers from Pakistan. He said, “Main Pakistan se poochhna chahta hun, Kashmir kab Pakistan ka tha ki usko lekar rote rehte ho? Pakistan ban gaya toh hum aapke wajood ka samman karte hain. Pakistan has no locus standi on this matter. (I want to ask Pakistan since when has Kashmir been theirs that they keep complaining? Pakistan was created so we respect your existence…)”.

The minister also explained that India also sought cordial relationships with its neighbours but “how can we talk to Pak when it keeps trying to destabilise India using terror?” Instead of harping on Kashmir, Pakistan should focus on human rights violations and atrocities in PoK, said Singh.

But then, he said, “The truth is that POK and Gilgit-Baltistan are illegally occupied by Pakistan.”

He also sought to clarify that no country was supporting Pakistan on the issue of abrogation of Article 370. He said, “US defence secretary told me abrogation of Article 370 is an internal matter of India.”

This is the first time the minister is in the region since the division of J&K into two Union Territories. The fair has been organised at the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research. The fair showcases agricultural products developed by the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO).

These include grains, cereals, fruits and seeds developed through research to withstand adverse weather in high altitude.

Singh is also scheduled to hold discussions with top military brass in Ladakh about the threat perception to the region from Pakistan following the revocation of Article 370.