China on Thursday termed the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, separating Ladakh, as “illegal and void”. China also took for a “challenge” to Beijing’s sovereignty India’s act of “including some part of China” (Aksai Chin) in its administrative jurisdiction. India rejected the Chinese comment, saying that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were integral parts of India, about which other countries must refrain from commenting.
While China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media in Beijing on Thursday, “The Indian government officially announced the establishment of so-called Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories which included some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar responded by saying, “We expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China continues to be in occupation of a large tract of the area in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.”
“China deplores and firmly opposes that. India unilaterally changed its domestic laws and administrative division challenging China’s sovereignty,” Geng had said. Kumar reacted thus: “It (China) has illegally acquired Indian territories from PoK under the so-called China-Pakistan boundary agreement of 1963.”
“We do not expect other countries, including China, to comment on the matters which are internal to India just as India refrains from commenting on internal issues of other countries. The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are an integral part of India,” the MEA said.
Many opposition parties, in the domestic circuit, have expressed opposition on the visit of European MPs to Kashmir. In response to this, the Ministry of External Affairs has released a statement, saying it is the right of the MEA to invite people from civil society. It said just as some people visit the region in the personal capacity, sometimes the ministry engages them officially in the national interest even if they are on a private visit.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, “MEPs (Member of European Parliament) had expressed a desire to understand India. When he approached them through different mediums, there were people of different ideologies. He was supported in going to Kashmir.
India on Kartarpur Corridor agreement
On the issue of Kartarpur Corridor, the Ministry of External Affairs said, the agreement with Pakistan is for pilgrimage. The Ministry of Home Affairs had shared a list of the first batch of pilgrims with Pakistan. There has been no response from the other side.
According to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, preparations are in progress for the inauguration and it will share the information after a decision is taken. The MEA confirmed that the first batch of pilgrims comprises some VIPs from the Union and Punjab governments.
“I think the political personalities or invitees who think they need to get a political clearance and those not included in the list will know about it. There won’t be surprises. My understanding is that the normal rules for seeking political clearance for such visits will apply,” Raveesh Kumar said while addressing a press conference.
Anti-India demonstrations in Britain
On the protests against India in the UK, a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have taken up the matter with the UK government”, expressing concern about “the way the protests took place in the UK, the violent incidents took place. We do not think this is an end of the issue because Pakistan-backed groups that hate India are behind it. It is also a matter for the UK to think that if its citizens are protesting against a country like India by being incited by another country, it is also a matter of concern for them.”