Talks with Pakistan only on PoK, says VP Naidu

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 11, 2019 11:28 hrs
Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Bilateral talks with Pakistan will be held only on the issue of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday.

He said the dilution of Article 370 will accelerate the pace of development in Jammu and Kashmir as several central schemes and laws, which could not be implemented there earlier will be enforced, including the ones dealing with strengthening local bodies.

Interacting with a delegation of a 'sarpanch' (village heads) and 'panch' (panchayat members) from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi, Naidu pointed out that Article 370 was only a temporary and transitory provision in the Constitution.

"The vice president said that talks with Pakistan would be held only on PoK and asserted that the safety, security and integrity of the nation were paramount for every Indian," a statement issued by his secretariat after the interaction said.

Referring to the Jammu and Kashmir panchayat elections which were held under governor's rule after a long gap, the vice president expressed happiness that 74 per cent of the electorate had voted.

He said with dilution of Article 370, panchayats will now become more dynamic "as the 3Fs -- funds, functions and functionaries -- would be devolved to them," according to the statement.

During the interaction, the vice president also suggested that it should be made mandatory to hold elections to local bodies every five years.

"There should be no discretion or scope for the states to either postpone or advance them," he said.