Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to change the status of Kashmir ran into fierce opposition from China and its ally Pakistan yesterday as the disputed territory lay under a telecoms blackout to forestall protests for a second day.
In a move to tighten its grip on Jammu and Kashmir, parts of which are claimed by Pakistan and China, India dropped a constitutional provision that allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws.
The changes imposed by Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government are the most sweeping in the nearly 30 years that India has been battling a revolt in Kashmir. The government also broke up the state into two federally administered territories. China said it opposed India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status and that New Delhi needed to be cautious on border issues.
“India’s action is unacceptable and would not have any legal effect,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement, drawing an immediate rebuke from Delhi that Kashmir was an internal affair.
The Himalayan region is divided between India, which rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, Pakistan, which controls a wedge of territory in the west, and China, which holds a thinly populated high-altitude area in the north.
China urged India to strictly abide by the agreements reached by both countries in order to avoid any actions that would further complicate boundary issues, Hua said.