Beijing calls move ‘null and void’, India hits back.
New Delhi: India and China were involved in a fierce exchange of words on Thursday, with Beijing calling the creation of two new Union Territories (of J&K and Ladakh) as “unlawful and void” and New Delhi hitting back to remind China that it has “illegally occupied” large tracts of land belonging to J&K state.
The verbal exchange comes just days after the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.
After India had revoked Article 370 and announced bifurcation of J&K state into two union territories in early-August this year, China had protested against the move since the territorial jurisdiction of the Ladakh Union Territory (like the erstwhile J&K state) includes the Aksai Chin area that is under Chinese occupation. The territorial jurisdiction of the Ladakh UT is as per the territorial claim of India.
“The Indian government officially announced the establishment of so-called Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory and Ladakh Union Territory that included some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction. China deplores and firmly opposes that. India unilaterally changes its domestic laws and administrative divisions challenging China’s sovereignty. This is unlawful and void and this is not effective in any way and will not change that fact that the area is under Chinese actual control,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang was quoted as saying at a foreign ministry press briefing in Beijing.
India retaliated soon after. “China continues to be in occupation of a large tract of area in the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. It has also illegally acquired Indian territories from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) under the so-called China-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963. India has consistently conveyed its concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is in the territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
He added, “We have seen the statement made by the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs of China on the establishment of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. China is well aware of India’s consistent and clear position on this issue. The matter of reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is entirely an internal affair of India. 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 & Kashmir and Ladakh are integral part of India. We expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
New Delhi further said, “Insofar as the boundary question is concerned, India and China have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually accepted solution to the issue through peaceful consultations on the basis of the political parameters and guiding principles that were agreed in 2005.
This was reiterated also in the 2nd India-China Informal Summit between Prime Minister and President Xi in Chennai earlier this month. In the interim, the two sides have also agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area.”