China expressed serious concern about the current situation in disputed Jammu and Kashmir region Tuesday, saying its “position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent.”
“[India and Pakistan] should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as she called for maintaining the status quo in the disputed region.
The remarks came after India on Monday removed all special provisions granted to disputed Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of Indian Constitution and divided the erstwhile province into two centrally administered “union territories”.
“We call on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region,” Hua said.
The Kashmir issue “is an issue left from the past between India and Pakistan,” she said. “The relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently.”
Beijing also opposed what it said was “inclusion of its territory” under India’s jurisdiction.
“China is always opposed to India's inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” Hua said.
India and China share a 2,673-mile (3,488-kilometer) long boundary called Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region which has a vast land mass with sparse population. Under new structure as passed by Indian parliament yesterday, Ladakh from now on will be a "Union Territory".
India has “continued to undermine China's territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law,” said Hua. “Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force,” she said, urging India to exercise “prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question.”
Responding to China’s claims, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency quoted Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as saying: “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise."
Kumar said India and China have agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question on the basis of the political parameters and guiding principles for the settlement of India-China boundary question.
"Pending such a settlement, both sides have agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas on the basis of the relevant agreements," Kumar said./aa