China sees its claims in Kashmir threatened by New Delhi’s move.
By Ankit Panda
The Chinese government has criticized India’s decision to change the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a statement released on Tuesday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was opposed to the move because Beijing’s claims to part of the disputed territory were included in the Indian-administered region.
“China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.On Monday, the Indian government announced that it would abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which had guaranteed a special status for the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government also announced an administrative rearrangement, whereby Indian-administered Kashmir would be divided into two—or bifurcated—into Union Territories governed directly from New Delhi.
In the Indian federal system, Union Territories are distinct from states in that they are governed by the central authority. Delhi, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep are the other Indian Union Territories.
In the case of Kashmir, one of these union territories would be Jammu and Kashmir, an administrative successor to the former state. The second would be Ladakh, which was part of the old Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir before the abrogation of the constitutional article. Ladakh sits adjacent to the administrative boundary between India and China, which is demarcated by a line known as the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).
“Recently India has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law,” she added. “Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force.”
China administers Aksai Chin, a northwestern Kashmiri region, as part of Xinjiang Autonomous Region’s Hotan County. India also claims the territory. India and China have an ongoing border dialogue between special representatives. The dialogue covers the entirety of the nearly 3,500-kilometer-long LoAC, which also extends to the east, where the two countries have a dispute over Arunachal Pradesh, which India administers as a state, but China claims in nearly its entirety as part of Tibet.
In a separate statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the general regional situation in Kashmir. “China is seriously concerned about the current situation in Jammu Kashmir,” Hua noted.
India and Pakistan “should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions.” She added that China calls “on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region.”