Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday that his country had decided to raise India's decision to cancel the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations, ruling out the use of military option with New Delhi. In contrast, his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi justified the decision to fight terrorism and separatism in the region, which has been in conflict with Pakistan for 70 years.

At a news conference, the Pakistani foreign minister rejected India's claims that Kashmir was an internal affair of India, stressing that any solution should be based on a Security Council resolution, which provides for a referendum among the people of the region to determine their fate.

Qureshi added that his country is not seeking war with India, and that it is pursuing political, economic and legal options to respond to the decision of its neighbor to abolish autonomy in Kashmir.

Islamabad has begun its options to respond to the Indian move by asking the Indian ambassador to leave the country, and refused to send its ambassador to New Delhi, in a clear reference to the reduction of diplomatic representation between the two countries. It also suspended all commercial dealings with its neighbor.

Pakistan on Tuesday halted train trips to India and banned Indian films from broadcasting in response to the abolition of the special constitutional status of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Indians in Ahmedabad watch a letter to their prime minister justifying New Delhi's decision to abolish autonomy in Kashmir.

Moody justifies
On the other hand, the Indian prime minister said that his country has abolished the autonomy of the Kashmir-controlled part to liberate the region from what he called terrorism and extremism.

In his first speech after Monday's decision, Moody said, "He is fully convinced that through this measure his government will be able to free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism and separatism."

He stated that the resolution aims to achieve the development and well-being of the people of Kashmir, promising in his television address the people of the region to achieve their political and economic rights in full after the implementation of this resolution.

The Prime Minister of India announced the holding of new local legislative elections in the region soon, without setting a date, and considered that the new resolution will enable the people of the region to choose their representatives with integrity and transparency.

The Indian parliament on Tuesday passed a law dividing Kashmir into two administratively separate regions - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Indian government has previously said that Kashmir is an internal affair and urged Pakistan to reconsider its decision to expel the Indian ambassador.

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Arrests campaign
The security sources and local Indian leaders in Kashmir, the Indian authorities to one of the largest security crackdowns in the region, has led to the arrest of at least 300 politicians in order to curb the protests against the decision to abolish autonomy.

New Delhi has also cut off mobile phone and Internet services in Kashmir, blocked roads and banned public gatherings, particularly in the capital of India-controlled Srinagar.

In international reactions, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for "maximum restraint" in the current crisis in Kashmir, calling on all parties not to "take any decision that would affect the status of this disputed region."

For its part, the State Department expressed Washington's support for direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on the disputed Kashmir, and called on the spokeswoman of the two countries to calm and restraint, in light of the escalation of the conflict.

The two nuclear powers in South Asia fought three wars between them, two of them over Kashmir (1947-1949 and 1965). In February 2019, relations between the two countries saw new tensions following a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that left nearly 40 people dead.