Rights of the people of the autonomous region in China’s Xinjiang should be “respected and guaranteed”, India said on Friday in what is being viewed as its first clear comment on the situation in the neighbouring country.
This comes a day after India abstained from voting on a resolution at the United Nations High Commission that called for a debate on concerns over the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
“The human rights of the people of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region should be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
On India’s abstention, Bagchi said it was in line with long-held practice in India’s foreign policy to not vote on country-specific resolutions. The comments came amid the continuing border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh. “India remains committed to upholding all human rights. India’s vote is in line with its long held position that country specific resolutions are never helpful. India favours a dialogue to deal with such issues,” he said.
Bagchi said India has taken note of assessment of human rights concerns in Xinjiang by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR).
On India’s conflict with China vis-à-vis the border, India said the situation at eastern Ladakh has not returned to the stage of full normalcy as some steps are yet to be taken for it. “Some steps are required for full normalcy. We have not reached there,” Bagchi said, responding to the comments of Chinese envoy Sun Weidong on Thursday when he claimed that the situation in eastern Ladakh is “overall stable”.
The MEA spokesman said India has been maintaining that it expects disengagement followed by de-escalation for the return of normalcy on the border, which could pave the way for normal ties between the two neighbouring countries.
“We have not reached there… I would not like to say that the situation is normal. There have been some positive steps, but some steps are yet to be taken,” he said.
On other issues, Bagchi said that six Indian prisoners, who completed their jail terms, died in Pakistan in the last nine months and India has raised the “alarming” issue with Islamabad.
“All the six, interestingly, had completed their sentences, but what we would say, were illegally detained by Pakistan despite completing their sentences and in spite of multiple demands by the Indian side for their release and repatriation,” he added.
India has also conveyed its objections to the US over the recent visit to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the American Ambassador to Islamabad, he said.