New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that India’s position regarding the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of the country is well known and New Delhi has raised its concerns with US side regarding US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome’s recent visit to Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
“Our position on the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India is well known. We would like to urge the international community to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during the weekly media briefing here.
The MEA spokesperson was asked about Blome’s visit and US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti’s remarks regarding the visit.
“We have raised our concerns about that visit by the US Ambassador of Pakistan with the US side and with regards to Garcetti’s comment, we don’t think the two situations are equivalent,” Bagchi said.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome recently paid a six-day visit to Gilgit-Baltistan during which he visited different areas and met local representatives and officials, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
Queried about United Kingdom MP Andrew Gwynne’s visit to PoJK and the remarks he made there on September 26, Bagchi reiterated that India will request international community to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“I think I would just repeat what I have been saying about visitors. We would request the international community to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. You know our position on the areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and how we look at the entire Union terroritory as integral part of India. That would be my comment,” Bagchi said.
“I don’t have anything particular as you said the video has just come out. I don’t know if our mission has taken it up but we convey our concerns on such things on regular basis whenever we see such developments,” he added.
On September 26, US Ambassdor to India Garcetti said that US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan is a matter which should be “resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US.”
Garcetti had said: “It’s not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but I know he’s been before and we have had obviously parts of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 as well.”
“We’ll stay engaged but it has to be something that is resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US,” he said.
Earlier in September, India lashed out at Pakistan after the country’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar predictably raised the Kashmir bogey in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
In its right of reply, the First Secretary at United Nations for the Second Committee of UNGA, Petal Gahlot said that Pakistan should vacate occupied areas of India and stop cross-border terrorism. She asked Pakistan to stop human rights violations against minorities in Pakistan.
Petal Gahlot said, “In order for there to be peace in South Asia, the actions that Pakistan needs to take are threefold first stop cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism immediately. Second, vacate Indian territories under its illegal and forcible occupation. And third stop the grave and persistent human rights violations against the minorities in Pakistan.”
Indian diplomat reiterated that union territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh are integral parts of India and Pakistan has no “locus standi” to make statements regarding India’s domestic matters.
“We reiterate that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India. Matters pertaining to the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are purely internal to India,” Petal Gahlot said.
“Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on our domestic matters. As a country with one of the world’s worst human rights records, particularly when it comes to minority and women’s rights, Pakistan would do well to put its own house in order before venturing to point a finger at the world’s largest democracy,” she added.