India hits out at Pakistan over statement to highlight Kashmir issue

| Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 20:43
First Published |
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"Sending out 22 envoys is not going to make their baseless and untenable claims legitimate," Vikas Swarup said

New Delhi: India on Thursday said that instead of sending 22 envoys with a wrong message on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan should have sent just one envoy with the right message to the right country.
India's statement comes in the wake of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announcing last week that he will be sending 22 special envoys to world capitals to highlight the Kashmir issue.
"Sending out 22 envoys is not going to make their baseless and untenable claims legitimate," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here. 
"Instead of sending 22 envoys with the wrong message to the wrong countries, it would have been better to send one envoy with the right message to the right country," he said. 
"The message obviously has to be one of stopping support to cross-border terrorism, ending incitement to violence in Jammu and Kashmir and putting an end to interference in India's internal affairs."
Regarding a second letter written by Sharif to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Swarup said that "they can write as many letters as they want to, this will not change the reality on the ground".
"The reality on the ground is that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is under the forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan," he said.
The spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan has no locus standi in commenting on the internal situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said that "we are perfectly capable of dealing with that".
Over 70 people have died till now in large-scale violence in the Kashmir valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in July. 
On Thursday, Sharif also visited Gwadar port in Pakistan's Balochistan province in connection with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the wake of recent protests by the Baloch people and people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
"In so far as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is concerned, there also our position has been made very clear to both the parties concerned," the spokesperson said.
"It passes through Indian sovereign territory under Pakistan's illegal occupation and when you say PoK, it is exactly that. It is Pakistan 'occupied' Kashmir," he said.
"It is part of Indian territory and we would obviously have concerns about any projects happening there with any third party collaboration."
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