Abrogating Article 370 on J&K "long overdue": Shekatkar

An image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fed sweets during celebrations for the move to remove Article 370 for special status for Jammu and Kashmir. AFP Photo.

Lieutenant General D B Shekatkar (retd) on Monday said the Centre's decision on Article 370 was "long overdue" and asserted it has sent a strong message across the world that there is no scope for any "mediation" or "arbitration" to solve the Kashmir issue.

The Centre on Monday abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and proposed that the border state be bifurcated into two Union Territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Article 370 scrapped: Live Updates

Later in the day, the Rajya Sabha approved a resolution abrogating the contentious Article of the Constitution and a bill to bifurcate the state into two UTs.

"The decision (to scrap Article 370) was long overdue...had the decision was taken earlier, the issue of terrorism would not have been there," he said.

The Army veteran said the country, as well as Jammu & Kashmir, have paid a "very heavy price" because of such "encouragement" in the form of Articles 370 and 35A (dealing with the special status of the state and certain privileges granted to its residents).

He supported the reorganisation of J&K and Ladakh into Union Territories and said the latter region will be able to develop itself as per its own culture.

"Last year, China made an official statement that the problem of Kashmir was no more confined to India and Pakistan and said they, too, have stakes in it...

...they said that because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which is an Indian territory," he said, adding Islamabad would now be worried about India's next move vis-a-vis PoK.

He said by revoking Article 370, India has sent a message across the world that there is no scope for "mediation or arbitration" in the Kashmir issue.

"Now India should be more concerned about new developments as a new axis is developing between China and Pakistan to control Afghanistan once American forces withdraw and that probably will have implications in Kashmir," he said.

The retired Army general cautioned the Centre, saying it should not now become "complacent" and think the decades-old issue of Kashmir has been resolved.

"In fact, problems will start now as those who have gone out of power after this decision will try and create problems and they may shake hands with Hurriyat (separatists).

"So, the Centre should be ready to tackle these challenges," he said. 

Comments (+)