'Not for others to comment': India reacts sharply to Xi-Imran Kashmir talks

MEA says Beijing is "well aware" of New Delhi's position on the issue

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar | PTI Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar | PTI

India on Wednesday reacted sharply to reports of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan discussing Kashmir, saying Beijing is "well aware" of New Delhi's position and it is not for other countries to comment on its internal affairs.

The strong reaction came after the Chinese state media quoted Xi as telling Khan during the meeting that China has been "observing" the situation in Kashmir, and hoped that the "relevant parties" can solve the issue through peaceful dialogue.

"We have seen the report regarding meeting of Xi with Khan which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir. India's position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asserted.

Xi, who is scheduled to hold 2nd informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, assured Khan during a meeting here that the friendship between China and Pakistan is "unbreakable and rock-solid" despite changes in the international and regional situation.

"President Xi assured that China has been observing the situation in Kashmir," state-run China Global Television Network, or CGTN, reported.

"China supports Pakistan to safeguard its legitimate interests and hopes relevant parties can solve the dispute via peaceful dialogue," the channel quoted Xi as telling Khan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday had said the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally, significantly omitting its recent references to the UN and UN Security Council resolutions.

Geng's comments marked a significant shift on what China has been saying on Kashmir in recent weeks in the aftermath of India's move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution.

Khan's visit to China comes amidst high tensions between Pakistan and India after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 to end the special status of J&K on August 5.