National Affairs

India Raises Concerns Over US Diplomat’s PoK Visit

Weeks after the US envoy to Pakistan’s visit to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) sparked controversy, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs assured that they had discussed the matter with the US government.

On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi addressed the issue at a press briefing and urged the international community to respect the ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’ of India.

Last month, Donald Blome’s secret visit to the Gilgit-Baltistan region raised eyebrows both in India and within Pakistan.

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,’ Bagchi said.

The MEA spokesperson also reacted to US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti’s remarks regarding the visit.

‘We have raised our concerns about the 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,’ he added.

Days after Blome’s visit, Garcetti side-stepped the whole issue and insisted that no third party should get involved in the Kashmir issue and it is between India and Pakistan. “It’s not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but he’s been before and we had part of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during G20 as well,’ Garcetti had told the local reporters.

“We’ll stay engaged but this is an issue we very religiously know that has to be resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US,” he added.

Last month, the US Ambassador to Pakistan paid a six-day visit to Gilgit-Baltistan, during which he visited multiple controversial areas in the region. According to Pakistani news outlet Dawn, Blome reportedly met several local representatives and officials in the region during his visit.

Meanwhile, in the Thursday press briefing, Bagchi reacted to UK MP Andrew Gwynn’s visit to PoK on September 26. ‘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 territory as an integral part of India. That would be my comment,” he 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 a regular basis whenever we see such developments,” he added.

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