Pakistan must understand that boundaries with India cannot be redrawn as Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of this country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.
Jaitley also cited the historic bus trip to Lahore undertaken in 1999 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee while extending India’s hand of friendship to Pakistan, to drive home the point that while neighbours cannot be changed, relations with them can be transformed.
“Our neighbouring country will have to understand that whatever means they use, they will not get any part of this country. The times have changed when the borders of the country could be changed. Boundaries cannot be now rewritten. The borders will remain as they are,” Jaitley said while addressing a civil society meet organised by BJP.
“One thing I will make clear is that all people living in the country will have to accept that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of this country,” he said.
The senior BJP leader, referring to Vajpayee’s speech in Pakistan when he travelled on the Delhi-Lahore bus, recalled that India was hopeful that Islamabad would reciprocate its initiative.
“Vajpayee took an initiative when he went to Lahore in the bus. He extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and in the speech he made in Pakistan, he said history can be changed, geography cannot be changed.
“A neigbour will remain a neighbour but the relations with that country — good or bad — can be changed. That time also we were hopeful that the initiative will be responded to in kind,” Jaitley said.
Without naming Pakistan, the minister said use of terrorism to implement its policy would not bear any fruit as there was no acceptance to violence as a tool at global level. India has also strengthened its capability to deal with it, he said.
“There are two reasons. The people who took to guns for getting heard will have to understand that over the past few decades, India’s capability to deal with this gun has increased . . . . At the global level too, nobody is willing to support or listen to those who want to get things done by the might of the gun. The global appetite to accept those who indulge in violence is now over, it is not acceptable,” he added.
Jaitley said the country’s capability to defeat the designs of those who have taken to gun has increased and that they will not be allowed to succeed in their plans.
Ruling out any dialogue with those pursuing the path of separatism, he said the Centre was ready to talk with an open heart with anyone who renounces this path.
“It should be clear to those who are misguided and want to return (to the mainstream), want to leave the path of separatism and strengthen the country, that we welcome them.
“Anyone who wants to talk with us with this aim, we will talk with an open heart. We have no problems with that. Our aim is to have complete peace in Jammu and Kashmir and that people of the state are on the path of development,” he added.
Jaitley said the common man was the worst victim of the atmosphere of violence, terrorism and insurgency.
“Think honestly who are the victims of terrorism, insurgency and violence? One is the person who is directly hit by the violence and gets hurt or killed. But the large scale impact is felt by the common man because the atmosphere affects him,” he said.
Jaitley said the high voter turnout in the first two phases of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir was a message to the people of the country and the world that the people of the state where fed up with the prevailing situation.
“The message I understand from this is that the people here is fed up with whatever has happened,” he said.