A day after Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his government’s plan to accord provincial status to the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region of Gilgit-Baltistan, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated his country’s claim to the entire Jammu and Kashmir region.
“Pakistan has an illegal occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan is now going to make Gilgit-Baltistan a state. Our government has said that the entire PoK [Pakistan occupied Kashmir] including Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of India”, wrote Singh in Hindi on Twitter.
गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान पर पाकिस्तान ने अवैध क़ब्ज़ा किया हुआ है। पाकिस्तान अब गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान को राज्य बनाने जा रहा है। हमारी सरकार ने दो टूक शब्दों में कहा है कि गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान समेत पूरा PoK भारत का अभिन्न अंग है।— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) November 2, 2020
Khan on Sunday announced his government’s plan to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into its fifth province by changing its semi-autonomous status in the country.
The move drew sharp condemnation from India, which “firmly rejected” the move and asked Islamabad to “immediately vacate” all areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) under its “illegal occupation”.
“The entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of so-called Gilgit and Baltistan are an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. The Government of Pakistan has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it”, reads a statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Pakistan, however, rejected India’s claim on Monday, calling it “irresponsible and unwarranted”.
#Pakistan categorically rejects Indian MEA Statement on Gilgit-Baltistan.— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) November 1, 2020
India has no locus standi whatsoever on the issue -legal,moral or historical.False claims by India can neither change facts nor divert attention from India’s illegal actions & HRs violations in #IIOJK.1/3 pic.twitter.com/p64Z2BiJBH
Political rallies are underway in the city of Gilgit in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, ahead of legislative elections on 15 November 2020. Pakistan’s Supreme Court earlier this year allowed the government to amend an administrative order to conduct general elections in the region.
India protested the move, calling it “cosmetic exercises intended to camouflage its illegal occupation”.
South Asian rivals India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries claim the Kashmir region as their territory, but have governed it in parts since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.