India rejects Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's remarks on Kashmir

His comments at OIC meeting in Pakistan came before possible visit to New Delhi

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation meeting. EPA
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New Delhi has rebuked China over its comments on the disputed region of Kashmir, saying Beijing has no right to comment on the “internal matters” of India.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said it “rejected” the remarks on Kashmir by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the opening of a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Co-operation foreign ministers in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

Mr Wang, who was a special guest at the two-day meeting that began on Tuesday, said Beijing “shares the same aspirations” as other Islamic nations over the Kashmir issue, prompting a sharp reaction from New Delhi.

“We reject the uncalled reference to India by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Matters related to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are entirely the internal affairs of India,” foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

“Other countries including China have no locus standi to comment,” the statement said. It added that “they should note that India refrains from the public judgment of their internal issues”.

The sharp rebuke comes days before a possible visit to New Delhi by Mr Wang, the first such high-level trip by a Chinese leader to New Delhi since deadly border clashes in 2020.

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a brawl with Chinese troops on the border in Ladakh, a part of the Kashmir region.

India and Pakistan each control parts of Kashmir but claim the region in its entirety. The two countries have fought have fought several wars over Kashmir.

A portion of the region is under the control of China, an ally of Pakistan.

Islamabad has for decades sought international pressure on New Delhi to resolve the dispute but India maintains that Kashmir is an "internal matter".

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the Kashmir issue at the opening ceremony of the OIC meeting and criticised the global community for its failure to implement a UN-mandated plebiscite in Kashmir.

Mr Khan also lashed out at India over its “illegal” decision to annul Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status in 2019. He claimed the move was used to change the demography of the Muslim-majority region, where more than three decades of armed rebellion against New Delhi has left tens of thousands dead.

New Delhi scrapped the constitutional provision that gave semi-autonomous powers to Kashmir and brought the territory under the direct control of the federal government.

Updated: March 24, 2022, 11:34 AM