Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to change Kashmir’s special situation drew harsh criticism from China and its ally Pakistan on Tuesday as contacts were cut off in the face of protests for a second day in a row.
As Reuters reported, in a move to gain control of Jammu and Kashmir, in which Pakistan and China are claiming rights, India scrapped a constitutional clause on Monday that would have allowed it to enact its own laws.
The changes imposed by the Modi government are the biggest in nearly 30 years in the face of the insurgency in Kashmir. The government also divided Jammu and Kashmir into two federal-administered districts.
China has said it opposes India’s decision to abolish Kashmir’s special status and New Delhi should be cautious when it comes to border issues.
“India’s move is unacceptable and will have no legal effect,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement. India was quick to criticize the statement, saying Kashmir was an internal affair.
The Himalayan region is divided between India, which manages the densely populated Kashmir valley and an area around the mostly Hindu city of Jammu; in the north.
China called on India to strictly abide by the agreements reached between the two countries to avoid any further complicating border issues, the spokeswoman said. There has been a long-running border dispute between India and China, including the highland region of Ladakh. The division of Jammu and Kashmir into federal areas is an internal affair, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ravesh Kumar said.
“India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and expects other countries to do the same.”
Thousands of security forces have been deployed in Kashmir and telephone and Internet services have been cut, drawing criticism that the government is seeking to stifle any opposition.
Reuters footage showed the streets of Srinagar clearing people on Tuesday. The city is at the center of a decades-old insurgency that India has accused Pakistan of supporting. Islamabad says it only provides moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for self-determination.
After meeting with top Pakistani military commanders in Rawalpindi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed support for Kashmiris and Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was working to refer the matter to the UN Security Council.
“Pakistan’s army stands firmly with the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the end,” Bajwa said. “We are ready and will go to what extent to fulfill our commitment in this regard.”
“We will fight this in all platforms. We are thinking about how to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice … to the UN Security Council,” Khan told the Pakistani parliament on Tuesday.