India rejects reference to Kashmir in China-Pak joint statement

New Delhi: India on Thursday categorically rejected any reference to Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan and China, saying that the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of the country, and also called upon the two countries to cease actions on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that change the status quo of areas illegally occupied by Pakistan.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in his media briefing, referring to a joint statement issued by Pakistan and China on July 24, said: “As in the past, India categorically rejects any reference to Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh has been and will remain an integral and inalienable part of India.”

“The Joint Press release has also made a reference to the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 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, and that 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.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday held talks in the Chinese city of Chengdu, after which the two sides issued a joint statement, which had references to Jammu and Kashmir as “a dispute left over from history”.

Qureshi, whose delegation included ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, had raised the Kashmir issue during his talks with Wang.

“Shared similar outlook for a peaceful, stable & prosperous South Asia & appreciate China’s unyielding support for Kashmir, reiterating dispute should be resolved through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions & bilateral agreements, opposing unilateral action,” Qureshi had tweeted.

The joint statement said that both sides agreed on the need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

“The Pakistan side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” the joint statement said.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” the joint statement released by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.

Qureshi also termed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as “a clear manifestation of our intentions to upgrade our bilateral and strategic relationship”.

In a tweet, Qureshi said: “CPEC has entered a new phase of development and reviewed progress including the New Gwadar Airport, 300 MW power plant, desalination plant and Gwadar Free Zone. We look forward to the 10th JCC meeting at earliest.”

India has repeatedly registered its protests over CPEC, the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying it is in violation of its territorial sovereignty as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) – Indian Territory illegally occupied by Pakistan.

The $65 billion CPEC infrastructure project connects China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. (UNI)

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