Lashing out at China, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said in Mumbai that India should 'show more spine' while dealing with its giant neighbour, instead of being 'apologetic' every time.
''I actually wish that India would show more spine when it comes to dealing with China,'' Abdullah told a seminar organised by The Indian Express. ''China seems to have no problem in calling Kashmir disputed, yet we are expected to follow a one-China policy and not call into question Taiwan's status. I mean we should follow a one-China policy for China, but China won't follow a one-India policy for India.''
He wished India would be more assertive while dealing with China, just as it did recently when it refused to postpone a function that was being attended by the Dalai Lama in Delhi, at a time when some delegates were planning to hold border talks with India. Consequently, the talks were postponed. ''I wish this is a position we take more often,'' said the J&K chief minister.
According to him, India has been apologetic, both in terms of its relationship with Pakistan and with China, for far too long. ''I think we should deal with China on an equal footing,'' he said. ''If they call into question parts of our sovereignty, we have every right to call in question parts of their sovereignty. Why should they call into question Arunachal Pradesh's status? Why should they call into question parts of Jammu and Kashmir. They are illegal occupants of parts of my state. They need to accept that,'' added a combative Abdullah.
Echoing the sentiments of his father, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah – who is also a central minister – the junior Abdullah said India should accept that it will not get back Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). He suggested that the Line of Control (LoC) should be converted into a soft border.
''If you truly believed that side of Kashmir was a part of this country, why didn't you go across the LoC during the Kargil war?'' he wondered. ''If you are respecting the LoC even at a time of conflict, it means you have given up the hope of getting that part of the state back.''
Referring to militant violence in his state, Abdullah said for the first time a successful panchayat election had been held there.
''If I go to sleep at night in the same frame of mind I woke up in, I think it's a day I can be fairly satisfied with,'' said the J&K chief minister. ''I have had more days like that this year than I had last year.''