On Sunday India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh posed a politically, militarily high-voltage question after having delivered an answer to the query as a backgrounder: “How is it possible that Lord Shiva’s iconic (shrine) Baba Amarnath is in this part (of J&K) and the revered Hindu deity Sharda Devi across the Line of Control, ( in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir). Before that he head recalled the Indian Parliament’s resolution which had unequivocally stated “Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan should vacate it.”.

Rajnath Singh stated this while speaking at a function organized in Jammu by an RSS offshoot Jammu Kashmir People’s Forum on Sunday, which also commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the Kargil war. The defence minister’s tone was measured, no anger in it, perhaps that’s why his words resounded more to the ears of the audience in this Hindu-dominated region, and that too where the audience comprised kin of the martyrs of the Kargil war of 1999.

On surface, it appeared to be a simple reiteration of the statements that all Indian leaders irrespective of their political origins and affiliations have been making all these years, especially after the Parliament passed the resolution in 1994 at the time when the militancy was at its peak. The rise in militancy and Pakistan’s machinations had spotlighted the contested nature of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. It was fuelled by the US State Department official Robin Raphel who had questioned the authenticity of the instrument of accession that Maharaja Hari Singh had signed in October 1947, acceding the whole of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

The parliamentary resolution, declaring the whole of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including all the territories – POJK and Gilgit Baltistan as inalienable parts of India, represented the nation’s will, and also messaged to the world community that J&K was non-negotiable. In particular, it was a rebuff to Pakistan, and the US that had been offering mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve the issue, as an alternative to the plebiscite envisioned in the UN resolutions. Pakistan had pressed the US to play the role of a mediator as the sole superpower in the unilateral world that had come into being after the collapse of the Soviet Union following its shameful retreat from Afghanistan that it had invaded in 1979.

Defence Minister‘s speech travelled to this point after he had made a mention of the abrogation of Article 370 – under which Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status within the Indian union. That way he was complimenting the government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accomplishing the equality and justice for all driven agenda of the party, pending since the 1950s when Jan n Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had raised revolt against two constitutions, two heads of state, two flags in the same country. That was the basis of the campaign “ Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan( one flag, one constitution and one head of the state).

What made Rajnath Singh’s statement more important after he had questioned that how could one shrine of ( erstwhile state of J&K ) be here and other across the LoC, were a note of caution and advice for Pakistan: “ I wish God almighty bless Pakistan with wisdom.” That, rad in the context in which he delivered his speech and the backdrop of the Kargil war and honouring the warriors and their families, it could be that Islamabad-Rawalpindi should desist from any misadventure, and should vacate all the occupied territories and handover them to India.

In the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, the Defence Minister spoke for the whole of the Government of India under the leadership of Modi that misadventures would be met with a befitting response, therefore it was better for Pakistan to choose between peace and war. Added to that was his recall that how Pakistan had suffered humiliating defeats in 147-48, 1965 and 1971 and also in the Kargil war.