India's Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday advised nations, including those in India's neighbourhood, to refrain from commenting on its internal matters and asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was taken in the larger interest to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country.
He also said that India was a parliamentary democracy and the decision to abrogate Article 370 provisions, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was taken after detailed discussion in Parliament and with the support of majority of the members.
Naidu made these remarks while delivering the first Sushma Swaraj Memorial Lecture, organised by Panjab University, according to an official statement. His comments come close on the heels of China making fresh attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council.
India's Ministry of External Affairs has said that New Delhi "firmly" rejects Beijing's "interference" in the country's internal affairs.
According to the statement, "Naidu wanted other nations to mind their own issues rather than interfering in the affairs of other countries." Referring to the feelings expressed by the late Sushma Swaraj on Article 370 before her death, the vice president said that as the external affairs minister, she used to articulate India's position quite efficiently and in a "sweet and sober manner".
"But at the same time, she used to convey the stand of the country in a firm manner," the statement said quoting him.
Paying tributes to Swaraj, he described her as an ideal Indian woman. She was an able administrator who left an indelible imprint on every position she had held, he said.
Urging young politicians to look up to her as a role model and emulate her qualities, Naidu said Swaraj was a wonderful human being, who was always considerate and prompt in her response to any request, be it friends, supporters or people at large. "The fact that she was elected to Lok Sabha on seven occasions and to the assembly thrice shows how immensely popular she was with the people," he said.
Referring to her qualities, he said her wit, humane nature and promptness in responding to any problem were in full display on the social media when she was the external affairs minister.
The Indian vice president said she was loved by millions of countrymen and was one of the most popular Indian foreign ministers in recent times.
Naidu said she was a passionate nationalist and always expressed her views in a forthright manner. Describing Swaraj as an epitome of Indian culture, the vice president said she was a blend of modern thinking and traditional values.
India's vice president said Swaraj used to be like a family member and recalled how she used to visit him and tie rakhi on Raksha Bandhan. "Remembering our cherished bonding, I became emotional when the country celebrated the festival a few days ago," he said.
Swaraj's daughter Bansuri Swaraj was present on the occasion.