India last week rejected the recent “elections” held in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), while simultaneously rejecting a reference to the CPEC in a recent Pakistan-China joint statement, saying it lies in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan and which is resolutely opposed by India.
The Indian response also covered the reference to J&K in the joint statement with the MEA spokesperson saying UTs of J&K and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India. Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India lodged a “strong protest” with Pakistan on a “cosmetic exercise” to hold elections in PoK. “Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to people in these occupied territories.”
Vacate illegal occupation: India
MEA spokesperson said, “Pakistan has no locus standi on these Indian territories. We call on Pakistan to vacate all Indian areas under its illegal occupation.” The election exercise, Bagchi said, is nothing but an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its illegal occupation and the material changes undertaken by it in these territories.
On the CPEC, which India has opposed on the grounds that it violates its sovereignty, the MEA spokesperson said, “We resolutely oppose any attempts by other countries to change the status quo in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan as also to Pakistan bringing up any material change in Indian territories under its illegal occupation. We call upon parties concerned to cease such actions.” Asked to respond to a meeting between Taliban leader Mullah Baradar and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, the MEA spokesperson avoided commenting on the meeting as such, but said India “wishes to see an independent, sovereign, democratic and stable Afghanistan, at peace with itself and neighbours. Unilateral imposition of will by any party will not be democratic, cannot lead to stability, and cannot provide legitimacy. Gains over the last two decades should be preserved”.