J&K and Ladakh was, is and will always remain part of India, said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi
New Delhi: Pakistan on Thursday said it had pulled out of the Chess Olympiad beginning in Chennai on Thursday since the relay torch had passed through Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir last month and accused India of politicising the event, but New Delhi hit back on Thursday evening, saying J&K was an integral part of India and in turn accused Islamabad of politicizing the entire issue. New Delhi said it was “unfortunate” that Pakistan had chosen to raise objections and added it was “surprising” that Islamabad had taken this position since the Pakistani team was already in India.
“J&K and Ladakh was, is and will always remain part of India,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters at his weekly briefing.
In a statement, Islamabad said: “Pakistan condemns India’s attempts to politicise the 44th Chess Olympiad being held in Chennai, India. Pakistan was invited by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad scheduled to be held in Chennai from 28 July to 10 August 2022. A Pakistani contingent was already training for this event. Regrettably, India has chosen to politicise this prestigious international sporting event by passing the torch relay of this event through … Jammu and Kashmir. The torch relay passed through Srinagar on 21 June 2022.”
Pakistan added: “As a protest, Pakistan has decided not to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad and will also raise the matter with the International Chess Federation at the highest level.” Islamabad described the status of J&K as “disputed” and said it had objected due for this reason.