RAWALPINDI: Commenting on the recent statement of the Indian National Congress President Sanjeva Reddy that India would “liberate” that portion of Kashmir which was not under Indian occupation, a Foreign Office spokesman yesterday said that it did not come as a surprise, adding, however: “India will not find Pakistan unprepared for any eventuality.”

The spokesman said that Pakistan was aware that India would “not hesitate to use force in order to conquer any territory which it thinks cannot be adequately defended,” but India would be wrong in its estimate if it thought “Azad Kashmir to be as defenceless as Goa”.

He said: “Mr Nehru made solemn pledges at the time of taking over Kashmir that he was doing so not in order to acquire territory for India, but only as a means of enabling the people of the State to decide, when conditions settled down, what their future should be.

“He had also made international commitments to the effect that the people of Kashmir should decide this question by means of a plebiscite to be held by the United Nations. Those pledges and commitments are still waiting to be honoured.”

The spokesman recalled that only the other day the Prime Minister of India in a Press conference, “while saying that India was willing for negotiations with Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, talked of an upset in the whole continent, and war all over if he made a settlement with us. It was not clear what he meant by it. If India made a peaceful settlement with Pakistan, who would make the war? Perhaps, the Congress President has now spelt out the meaning,” the spokesman concluded.—Agencies

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