External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi / File photo: ANI
New Delhi: India on Thursday strongly rejected references made to Jammu and Kashmir in the China-Pakistan joint statement issued during Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's recent visit to Beijing, and asserted that the Union Territory as well as Ladakh "are and will always" be "integral and inalienable" parts of India.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, referring to the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said New Delhi has consistently conveyed its "protests and concerns" to Beijing and Islamabad over the CPEC as it includes projects on the sovereign territory of India.
Bagchi said India "resolutely rejects" any attempts to utilise such projects to change the status quo in the area and that any attempts to involve third parties in such activities are "inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable".
The joint statement was issued on Wednesday following talks between Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Bagchi said India noted the joint statement that contained several "unwarranted references" to the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and also mentioned projects under the so-called CPEC and its extension to third countries.
"We have consistently rejected such statements and all parties concerned are well aware of our clear position on these matters. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh are and always will be integral and inalienable parts of India. No other country has locus standi to comment on the same," he added.
"As regards the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, we have consistently conveyed our protest and our concerns to China and Pakistan. CPEC includes projects on the sovereign territory of India under forcible and illegal external occupation."
In his talks with President Xi, Sharif reaffirmed his government's willingness to "commit to high quality development" of the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) and highlighted the salience of the CPEC to Pakistan's economic and social development, according to the joint statement.
The statement said the Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a "dispute left from history" that should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements".