‘Integral part’: India skewers Pak for objections to G20 meets in J&K, Ladakh | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Integral part’: India skewers Pak for objections to G20 meets in J&K, Ladakh

Apr 13, 2023 08:45 PM IST

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had expressed “strong indignation” at India’s move to hold G20 meetings in Kashmir and Ladakh

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday brushed aside Pakistan’s objection to holding of G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, saying it is “natural” to arrange such events in the union territories that are an “integral and inalienable” part of the country.

India is hosting some 200 meetings at locations across the country as part of its G20 presidency. (HT file image)
India is hosting some 200 meetings at locations across the country as part of its G20 presidency. (HT file image)

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had on Tuesday objected to India’s plans to hold G20 youth engagement group meetings in Leh and Srinagar and a G20 tourism working group meeting in Srinagar during May 22-24.

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Pakistan claimed such events were aimed at perpetuating India’s “illegal occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The meetings and events of G20 are being held across India. They are being organised in every region of India and it is very natural to have these meetings in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a media briefing while responding to a question on the stand taken by Pakistan.

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“These places have always been an integral and inalienable part of India and they are ours. I will only say these meetings are being held in every region. This is our natural response,” Bagchi said, speaking in Hindi.

India is hosting some 200 meetings at locations across the country as part of its G20 presidency. These meetings will culminate with the leaders’ summit in New Delhi in September.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office, in a statement issued on April 11, had expressed “strong indignation” at India’s move to hold G20 meetings in Kashmir and Ladakh and described the decision as “disconcerting”. Pakistan had also protested last year, when reports first emerged of India’s plans to hold some G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, stayed away from a G20 meeting on research and innovation held last month in Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by Beijing.

Last year, China backed Pakistan’s objections to India’s plans to hold G20 meetings in Kashmir by saying all parties should not complicate the situation in the region through any unilateral moves.

The Indian side perceives the holding of such international events in Kashmir and Ladakh as a way to reinforce its position that these regions are integral parts of the country, and to counter Pakistan’s claims about human rights violations in the area.

However, Pakistan has contended India is exploiting its membership of the G20 to advance a “self-serving agenda”.

Relations between the two sides have been at an all-time low since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which were carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and came under further strain after India carried out a cross-border air strike on Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019 in retaliation for the Pulwama suicide bombing.

Ties took a further hit after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and split the state into two union territories.

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