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Kashmir an internal matter: India reminds China ahead of President Xi's visit

By PTI
|

New Delhi, Oct 09: India on Wednesday reacted sharply to reports of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan discussing the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, saying Beijing is "well aware" of New Delhi's position and it is not for other countries to comment on its internal affairs.

Imran Khan and Xi Jinping

The reaction came after the Chinese state media quoted Xi as telling Khan during the meeting that China has been "observing" the situation in Kashmir and hoped that the "relevant parties" can solve the issue through peaceful dialogue.

"We have seen the report regarding meeting of Xi with Khan which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir. India's position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

Ahead of Modi-Xi meet, China shifts stand on Kashmir, calls it a 'bilateral issue’

Xi, who is scheduled to hold the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, assured Khan during a meeting that the friendship between China and Pakistan is "unbreakable and rock-solid" despite changes in the international and regional situation.

Khan's visit to China comes amidst high tensions between Pakistan and India after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 to end the special status of J&K on August 5.

Xi reportedly told Khan during a meeting in Beijing that the right and wrong of the Kashmir situation was clear, adding that the parties should resolve the dispute via peaceful dialogue.

Xi said China is ready to work with Pakistan to forge a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era. Noting that the two countries are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, Xi said, "No matter how the international and regional situation changes, the friendship between China and Pakistan has always been unbreakable and rock-solid, and China-Pakistan cooperation has always maintained strong vitality."

India and Pakistan have been locked in a war of words since the Modi government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two Union Territories - J&K and Ladakh.

In protest, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria and also suspended trade ties. It also sought to internationalise the issue by raising it at the United Nations but did not get much support.

Beijing, the all-weather ally of Islamabad, has backed Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his address to the UN General Assembly saying, "No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken."

However, ahead of the Modi-Xi meet, China changed its tune and said India and Pakistan should resolve the issue bilaterally.

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