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Udhayan C C asked: India had a border with Afghanistan which is now with PoK. Why can’t we reclaim it by force?

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  • Priyanka Singh replies: The Wakhan Corridor in the Badakhshan province separates Afghanistan from Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).The corridor is approximately140 miles long and between 10-40 miles wide. Besides PoK, it shares border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, China, Tajiskistan and is thus of immense strategic value.

    The strategic significance of PoK cannot be denied in the present context and it is absolutely justified that India should reclaim PoK, but probably not by force. India’s stance on PoK has not been very forthcoming in the past so many years. Compulsions at the international level coupled with a rather defensive approach at the domestic level have meant that claims over PoK have not been adequately highlighted as part of the overall Kashmir issue. Hence, before we start thinking in terms of reclaiming our territory by force, a lot needs to be done on the policy front. We need to reshape and strengthen our policy on PoK which supports our legitimate claim on PoK. There is need to create awareness regarding India’s claim over PoK, not only at the international level, but also to a certain extent at the domestic level. Resorting to use of force without exploring all other possibilities would be unwarranted.

    More importantly, India’s claim on PoK should not be confined solely to strategic interests in Afghanistan. True, PoK will give India unfettered access to Afghanistan and more importantly to Central Asian markets. However, the strategic dimension should be preceded by the legal claim, which is that PoK is an integral part of India currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

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