India on Thursday said it raised its concerns with the US over American envoy to Islamabad Donald Blome’s recent visit to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and called on the world community to respect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
He also rejected US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti drawing a parallel to Mr Blome’s travel to Gilgit-Baltistan to an American delegation’s visit to Srinagar to attend meetings relating to G20.
“Our position on the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of India is well known. We would urge the international community to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mr Bagchi said when asked about Mr Blome’s visit.
“We have raised our concerns about that visit by the US ambassador to Pakistan with the US side,” he said.
Mr Blome visited Gilgit-Baltistan last month.
Asked about Mr Garcetti’s comments on the matter, Mr Bagchi said: “We do not think the two situations are equivalent.”
In October last year too, India raised its concerns with the US after Mr Blome visited Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
When asked about Mr Blome’s visit, Mr Garcetti said two weeks ago: “It’s not my place to react to the United States ambassador in Pakistan but I know he’s been before, and we’ve had obviously part of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 as well.” He also said that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved by India and Pakistan.
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