Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday supported Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) by saying that India's position on PoK is very clear: "it is part of India and we don't see any reason to change the stance."
"I don't think I need to really reiterate our position on PoK. I don't need to clarify the Home Minister's statement in Parliament. Our position on Pok is very clear; we consider it a part of India and we certainly see no reason to change our statement," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
Bagchi was responding to a question regarding Pakistan's rejection of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement in the Lok Sabha, saying 'PoK is ours'.
The Home Minister, during his address in the Lower House, reaffirmed that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is part of the country.
Shah said, "The Delimitation (Commission) went everywhere in J-K. The representatives of several communities, including Kashmiri migrants and people displaced in PoK, had
submitted applications to them regarding their representation in state assembly. I am happy that the commission has taken cognizance of this and the (then) Election Commissioner of India has nominated two seats in state assembly for Kashmiri migrants and one seat for a person displaced in PoK, which has been occupied unauthorizedly by Pakistan."
"Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu (division), now there are 43. Earlier there were 46 in Kashmir, now there are 47. And 24 seats for PoK have been reserved, Kyuki Woh Hamara Hai (because PoK is ours)," he added.
The MEA spokesperson also replied to the question on the Afghanistan Embassy and said, "Afghan Embassy in New Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad are functional. You can see from the flag who they represent and our position on the condition of entities has not changed. The Afghan diplomats will continue to provide services to the Afghan nationals here."
He also updated about the Indian government's appeal for eight former navy personnel in Qatar and mentioned that the Indian ambassador got consular access on December 3.
"There have been two hearings. We filed an appeal from the families, and the detainees had a final appeal. Two hearings have since been held. We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance. Meanwhile, our ambassador got consular access to meet all eight of them in prison on December 3. This is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so," he added.