Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to bring peace to the troubled Himalayan region, and he has been working to secure the release of five Kashmiri separatists who were arrested last year.
But the Indian government is taking a tough stance on the issue, as it seeks to hold up to its promise of Kashmir to the world by building an independent state.
A top Indian official says that India will be “more forceful” on the Kashmir issue than it has been in the past, but will not allow it to become a “second Sino-Indian war.”
“We will be more forceful and will not let it become a second Sino–Indian war,” the official told reporters, according to Reuters.
“The Indian government has been extremely sensitive to this issue.
So far, we have not been able to achieve our objective of bringing peace to Kashmir.
And we will be able to do that.”
Modi’s spokesman later denied the comments.
A senior Indian military official said that India is committed to “the security and stability of the region,” and the security of its citizens.
“We are fully committed to the security and safety of our people in the Kashmir Valley and the Kashmiri people in India,” the Indian military said in a statement.
“While it is the Indian Government’s view that the Indian-sponsored terrorists who carried out the attacks in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir are the most brutal and violent elements of the armed opposition in the region, we stand with the Indian people who are being attacked and are fighting for their freedom.
Our security is paramount in the context of peace and stability in Kashmir and we will continue to be so,” the statement said.
India’s Supreme Court has already ruled in the case of the Kashmiris that the release was unlawful, and that they cannot be held hostage to a foreign power.
India has accused Pakistan of supporting the militants, and has accused China of providing financial and logistical support to them.
It has also accused Pakistan’s military of using the Kashmir dispute to destabilize the region.
“There is no question that India’s security interests and sovereignty are in jeopardy if we continue to allow Pakistan to dictate terms to the Kashmir problem,” said Rajesh Kumar, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and supporting the separatists in Kashmir.
But Pakistan says it has never provided any support to the separatists.
The Indian government accuses Pakistan’s government of harboring the Kashmir separatists, who say they want a separate state for their ancestral homeland.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who was in India on Tuesday, said Pakistan is not responsible for the separatists’ fate.
“India is not a party to the dispute,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
“It has been responsible for ensuring that India and Pakistan peacefully resolve the Kashmir situation.”