Diplomacy

India Rejects Reference to Kashmir in Pakistan-China Joint Statement

The joint statement noted that there was an exchange of views “on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”.

New Delhi: After Pakistan and China discussed Kashmir during the visit of Pakistan President Arif Alvi to Beijing, India reiterated its dismissal of any comment on “internal affairs” and objected again to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Pakistani head of state was on a two-day visit to Beijing, the first to China since the COVID-19 outbreak took on epidemic proportions. A joint statement issued at the conclusion of the visit stated that it was a “singular expression of Pakistan’s solidarity with its “iron brother””.

The joint statement noted that there was an exchange of views “on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”.

“The Chinese side underscored that it was paying close attention to the current situation and reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” the diplomatic document said.

It added that the China “opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”.

These were repetition of China’s position on Kashmir and the change in constitutional status by India.

In response, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the Pakistan-China joint statement. “The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. Issues related to J&K are internal matter of India. We expect other countries including China not to comment on matters that are internal affairs of India and also to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity just as India refrains from commenting on internal issues of other countries,” he said.

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Kumar also registered India’s protest over the “so-called illegal China Pakistan Economic Corridor”.

The joint statement had described CPEC as “transformational” and “hoped that the international community will support such efforts that underpin economic development”.

Pointing out that CPEC was in Indian territory, Kumar said, “India is resolutely opposed to any actions by other countries to change the status quo in Pakistan occupied J&K. We call on parties concerned to cease such actions. Such illegal activities will never be accepted by India.”

The corridor goes through Gilgit Baltistan, which is claimed by India as part of the entire Kashmir territory. For India, CPEC has been the key reason for not joining China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative.