Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 29
India has reacted strongly to the references to Jammu & Kashmir and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the joint press release of the third China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue earlier this week.
“As in the past, India categorically rejects any reference to J&K,” said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, adding that along with the UT of Ladakh, J&K “has been and will remain” an integral and inalienable part of India.
The MEA was reacting to a sentence in the statement that said, “The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deterioration of the situation in J&K, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues.”
The Chinese observation on the Kashmir issue was more anodyne.
“It is a dispute left over from history and the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” it said.
On the joint press release making a reference to the “so-called” China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Bagchi said, “We have consistently conveyed to both China and Pakistan that the so-called CPEC is in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.’’
“We resolutely oppose any attempts by other countries to change the status quo in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan as also to Pakistan bringing up any material change in Indian territories under its illegal occupation. We call upon parties concerned to cease such actions,” he said.
Speaking further on Pakistan’s attempt to bring about “material changes”, the MEA spokesperson described the elections in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as “nothing but an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its illegal occupation and the material changes undertaken by it in these territories”.
India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani authorities on this “cosmetic exercise”, which has been protested and rejected by the local people.
“Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to people in these occupied territories. Pakistan has no locus standi on these Indian territories. We call upon Pakistan to vacate all Indian areas under its illegal occupation,” Bagchi observed.
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