India on Saturday rejected a reference to Jammu and Kashmir in a joint statement issued by China and Pakistan, saying it was tantamount to interference in the country’s internal affairs.
After Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi of Islamabad’s views on the situation in the Indian union territory during talks on Friday, the joint statement said China opposes any “unilateral” actions that complicate the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to the joint statement, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “As in the past, we categorically reject the reference to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the joint press release of the 2nd round of China-Pakistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue.
“The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India.”
Srivastava also reiterated India’s opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a key component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“At the same time we also reiterate our consistent position on the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’. India has repeatedly conveyed its concerns to both China and to Pakistan on the projects in [the] so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which are in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan,” he said.
“We resolutely oppose actions by other countries that change the status quo in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and call on the parties concerned to cease such actions,” he added.
The Kashmir issue figured in the second strategic dialogue of the Chinese and Pakistani foreign ministers in the southern province of Hainan on Friday. Qureshi arrived in China on Thursday for the talks against the backdrop of the India-China border standoff.
“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” said the joint statement issued at the end of the two-day strategic dialogue.
“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 added.
China and Pakistan backed a “peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia” and the joint statement further said: “Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
Beijing had adopted issued a similar position immediately after New Delhi scrapped Kashmir’s special status in August last year. Since then, China has also sought to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council on Pakistan’s behalf several times, but without much success.
In a recorded message addressed to his Pakistani counterpart Arif Alvi, Chinese President Xi Jinping had on Friday described CPEC as “a landmark project” under BRI, and said it is of “great importance to promoting in-depth development of the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership”.