India rejects China-Pakistan joint statement on Kashmir, calls for status quo in PoK

REFILE – CORRECTING BYLINE China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China April 28, 2019. Madoka Ikegami/Pool via REUTERS

A day after China and Pakistan said they opposed India’s "unilateral actions" in Kashmir and called for a dialogue, New Delhi on Tuesday rejected the joint reference to Kashmir and protested against the "so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" running through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said: "We reject the reference to Jammu & Kashmir in the Joint Statement issued by China and Pakistan. J&K is an integral part of India. On the other hand, India has consistently expressed concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in so-called ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947. India is resolutely opposed to any actions by other countries to change the status quo in Pakistan occupied J&K. We call on the parties concerned to cease such actions."

On Sunday, Islamabad and Beijing issued a joint press statement during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi s two-day visit to Pakistan. The two countries, according to the Express Tribune, said it was opposed to "unilateral actions" in Kashmir and called for a peaceful resolution on the issue.

And on Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed deep concern at the communication shutdown and detention of political leadership in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and urged the Indian government to ensure that human rights are respected and protected.

In her opening statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet said: My office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control. I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on Internet communication and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists.

While I continue to urge the governments of India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights are respected and protected, I have appealed, particularly to India, to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained. It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future, she said.

This was Bachelet s first comment on Kashmir, after the government revoked J&K s special status. While there was no official response from New Delhi, India has sent a team of senior officials, including Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, to frame the government s response during the UNHRC deliberations as Pakistan is planning to raise the Kashmir issue.