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India Rejects Chinese-Pakistani Declaration on Disputed Kashmir

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NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - India's External Affairs Ministry has rejected a joint declaration issued by the Chinese and Pakistani presidents on Tuesday that referenced the contested Kashmir region, saying it was an internal issue.

China's Xi Jinping, who welcomed Pakistan's Arif Alvi to Beijing this week, said that the row over Kashmir should be resolved with UN help and warned against unilateral action.

"We expect other countries including China not to comment on matters that are internal affairs of India and also to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity", ministerial spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

India and Pakistan have been locked in a dispute over Kashmir since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries control portions of the Himalayan region but claim Kashmir in its entirety.

Tensions between the two rivals escalated last year after India stripped the Jammu and Kashmir state of its special status. Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India in response to what it saw as an attack on the rights of the area's majority Muslim population.