Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir Integral Parts of India, China Has No Locus Standi to Comment: MEA
This frame grab from video shows an Indian army convoy driving in Leh, India. The nuclear-armed rivals have been engaged in a tense standoff in Ladakh since May. (AP)
India on Thursday asserted that the union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir have been and will remain an integral part of India and that China has no locus standi to comment on its internal matters.
The Ministry of External Affairs' assertion came days after China said it does not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh "illegally" set up by India.
"The union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir have been, are and would remain an integral part of India. China has no locus standi to comment on India's internal matters," said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at an online briefing.
"We hope countries will not comment on India's internal matters as much as they expect the same from others: MEA on China's remarks on Ladakh," he said.
China had earlier said it did not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh "illegally" set up by India, in response to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurating 44 key bridges built in areas of strategic importance.
India and China have been engaged in a bitter stand-off since earlier this year after 20 Indian soldiers died in clashes with the PLA at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June.
"China does not recognise the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh illegally set up by India," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said. "We are opposed to infrastructure construction for the purpose of military surveillance in disputed border areas."
The bridges inaugurated by India have been built in strategically key areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
A majority of these bridges are expected to significantly improve movement of troops in areas along the border with China in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors, officials said. Both India and China held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the border standoff. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to defuse the situation.