‘No country has locus standi to comment’ — India rejects references to Kashmir in Pak-China statement


New Delhi: India has called references made to Jammu and Kashmir in a joint statement released by Pakistan and China as “unwarranted”, reiterating that its position on the issue is “consistent” and known to all concerned.

In an official release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday, spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said: “No other country has the locus standi to comment on the same.”

The MEA’s statement went on to talk about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and projects undertaken by China and Pakistan in border towns. “We resolutely oppose and reject any moves by other countries to reinforce or legitimise Pakistan’s illegal occupation of these territories, impinging on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the release read.

The CPEC, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), includes infrastructure development across Pakistani provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and western Punjab Province.

It enters its second phase next year. The plan, to be completed by 2049, is seen as a concern for India’s sovereignty and national security. India has, in the past, asked China to cease activities as it lacked understanding of the issue between India and Pakistan and told it that Pakistan had been in “illegal occupation of parts of Jammu & Kashmir since 1947”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was on a five-day visit to China between 4 and 8 June. A joint statement released on 7 June said the Pakistani side had briefed the Chinese on the “latest developments of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”. The statement quoted Chinese reiterations that the issue was “left over from history and should be properly and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and bilateral agreements”.

India has repeatedly rejected such references — more recently, in 2022, when a China-Pakistan joint statement mentioned an economic corridor passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and in 2020 after the second round of China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue. India has on numerous times called on the two countries not to interfere in its affairs and let the status quo be.

Sharif’s visit to China, the first since he took office earlier this year, has been hailed as ‘a manifestation of China-Pakistan ironclad relationship’ by Pakistan. The Pakistani PM visited Beijing, Xian, and Shenzhen and held delegation-level talks with his Chinese counterparts. Apart from “maintaining peace in South Asia”, the joint statement focussed on the “strategic mutual trust, developed close coordination” among the two militaries, and China reaffirmed its commitment to continue providing support and assistance to Pakistan.

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