The formation of the Union Territory of Ladakh under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, is an internal affair of India, and India expects other countries to avoid commenting on its internal developments, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.
The Indian response came after Beijing said that ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir undermined its sovereignty. “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, is an internal matter concerning the territory of India. India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise,” said the spokesperson of the Ministry.
The Bill describes Kargil and Leh districts as constituents of the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Historically the district of Leh covered the area of Aksai Chin that remains out of Indian control.
The exchanges over Ladakh are expected to set the backdrop of the August 11 to 13 visit to Beijing by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar who will participate in the High Level Mechanism between two sides.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had highlighted the creation of Ladakh as a union territory while criticising the Indian move to end the special status for Kashmir. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday that change of the status of Ladakh was ‘unacceptable’ to China.
“We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question,” said Ms. Hua in response to a question on the creation of a union territory in Ladakh that she described as ‘Chinese territory’ in the western sector of the Sino-India boundary question.
In response the MEA spokesperson said, Delhi and Beijing are committed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border region. “The border issue will be dealt with on the basis of the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of India-China Boundary Question,” said the MEA spokesperson.