India and the US have been engaged in a political standoff over the US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome’s recent visit to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Taking cognisance of the matter, the Ministry of External Affairs, earlier on Thursday raised its concerns with the US side. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi reiterated that India’s position regarding the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of the country is well known and New Delhi has raised its concerns with the US side.
It is worth mentioning that New Delhi claims that the region belongs to India and the visit of any foreign delegates to the region is considered a “violation” of its territorial integrity.
Arindam Bagchi on Blome’s visit to PoK
“Our position on the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India is well known. We would like to urge the international community to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during the weekly media briefing here.
When asked about Blome’s visit and US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti’s remarks regarding the visit, MEA spokesperson said, “We have raised our concerns about that visit by the US Ambassador of Pakistan with the US side and with regards to Garcetti’s comment, we don’t think the two situations are equivalent.”
As per a report from Pakistan-based Dawn, Blome met local representatives and officials during his six-day visit to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Bagchi requests to respect India’s sovereignty
Queried about United Kingdom MP Andrew Gwynne’s visit to PoK and the remarks he made there on September 26, Bagchi reiterated that India will request the international community to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“I think I would just repeat what I have been saying about visitors. We would request the international community to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. You know our position on the areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and how we look at the entire Union terroritory as integral part of India. That would be my comment,” Bagchi said.
“I don’t have anything particular as you said the video has just come out. I don’t know if our mission has taken it up but we convey our concerns on such things on regular basis whenever we see such developments,” he added.
Eric Garcetti’s remark on Blome’s visit
On September 26, US Ambassdor to India Garcetti said that US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan is a matter which should be “resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US.”
Garcetti had said: “It’s not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but I know he’s been before and we have had obviously parts of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 as well.”
“We’ll stay engaged but it has to be something that is resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US,” he said.
(with inputs from ANI)
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