India on Wednesday said it has lodged strong protests with Pakistan and China over a proposed bus service between the two countries that runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), calling it a violation of “India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
According to reports, the bus service will be launched on between Lahore in Pakistan and Kashgar in China via Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on November 13 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. While the new bus facility is seen as an example of increasing ties between Pakistan and China, India has registered its protest over the fact that the route passes through Pok, which it maintains is an Indian territory.
“We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir under the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries from the media.
Kumar said it has been India’s consistent and well-known position that the “so-called China-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963 is illegal and invalid, and has never been recognised by the Government of India.” “Therefore, any such bus service through Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir will be a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
The USD 50-billion CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
(With inputs from agencies)