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India slams China for Kashmir comment at UN, takes jibe at PoK road project

India on Saturday pointed to the “illegal so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” to criticise China’s reference to Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations.

The spokesperson of the external affairs ministry Raveesh Kumar said China, which is a close ally of Pakistan, is well aware of India’s position that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are an “integral part of India and that the recent developments are entirely a matter internal to us”.

“We expect that other countries will respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” he said.

The $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which connects Gwadar Port in Balochistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The corridor is one of the flash-points in ties between India and China.

India has repeatedly expressed concerns about BRI, largely because of CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the uneven playing field created by China for President Xi Jinping’s flagship connectivity project.

Kumar’s comments came in response to the reference made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in his address during 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

Wang said that the “dispute” should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and the bilateral agreement.

“No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken. As a neighbour of both India and Pakistan, China hopes to see the dispute effectively managed and stability restored to the relationship between the two sides,” he said.

India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month and bifurcated the state into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which will come into being on October 31.

India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian ambassador.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Friday contended there would be a “bloodbath” when India eases restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir and warned the tensions between the two countries could escalate into a nuclear war.

India had nailed him on every single point from his speech while reminding him that his country was the fountainhead of terrorism.

Earlier this month, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had made similar comments saying China had “misread” India’s decision to nullify Article 370 that gave special status to Kashmir and dividing the state to two Union territories—J&K and Ladakh.

China had said that the decision to make Ladakh a union territory was “unacceptable”. India had rejected the criticism and said Ladakh was an “internal matter”.

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