The MEA official spokesperson also called for an end to actions that change the status quo in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK)

India has hit out at China and Pakistan for referring to Kashmir as a “dispute” between India and Pakistan.

The Ministry of External Affairs has expressed its strong objection to the reference, in the Joint Press Release issued after the 2nd Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue on Friday. The release had described Kashmir as “a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan.”

“As in the past, we categorically reject the reference to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the Joint Press Release of the 2nd Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned to not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India, “ MEA official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in response to a media query today.

He also used the occasion to reiterate India’s “consistent position on the so-called "China Pakistan Economic Corridor".

The spokesperson said India has repeatedly conveyed its concerns to both China and to Pakistan on the projects in the corridor, “which are in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. We resolutely oppose actions by other countries that change the status quo in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir and call on the parties concerned to cease such actions”.

Continuing with their game on Kashmir, Pakistan and China had on Friday come together to issue a joint statement where they called for “peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia in common interest of all parties.”

The statement came in the wake of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quershi’s two-day visit to China where the focus of his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was Kashmir, Afghanistan, Covid-19 cooperation and the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

As per the joint statement issued after the Qureshi-Wang Yi meeting, “the Chinese side reiterated that Kashmir is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan.” China said “the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”.

Several diplomatic experts, including former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, see the Pakistan-China tango on Kashmir as a usual move to try and corner India on the human rights issue.

They say both Pakistan and China want to divert the attention of their restive countrymen by creating an enemy in India. They say India’s strong measures in Kashmir have divested Pakistan and its all-weather friend China of any chance to play a bigger role in South Asia and hence, the growing frustration in the Pakistani and the Chinese camps.

Pakistan and China are currently not on good terms with India and as such, their common approach towards New Delhi is to hurt and humiliate India as much as they can. China said it opposed any unilateral action that complicates the situation in Kashmir.

Pakistan and China, as per the joint statement, also “agreed on continuing their firm support on issues concerning each other’s core national interests”.