NEW DELHI: India on Saturday slammed all references to Kashmir made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Pakistan and advised him not to interfere in India’s internal matters.
In a statement, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Kashmir was an “integral and inalienable part of India.”
“We call upon the Turkish leadership to not interfere in India’s internal affairs and develop proper understanding of the facts, including the grave threat posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan to India and the region,” he said.
Kumar’s remarks were in response to references to Kashmir made by the Turkish president in his speech to the Pakistan National Assembly and later at a joint press event with Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.
“Kashmiri brothers have been living under difficult circumstances over the years, but the recent unilateral steps of India have added to their woes and the situation there has become alarming. Depriving Kashmiris of their freedom and usurping their rights is not in anybody’s interest,” Erdogan said in his speech, referring to India’s moves to revoke the special status to Kashmir as well as impose restrictions on communications and the Internet in the region.
According to a report on the website of Pakistan’s “The News”, “President Erdogan maintained that Kashmir problem could be solved only on just and equitable basis rather than through conflict and oppression and such a solution will serve the benefits of all parties. He said Turkey will continue to stand on the side of justice, peace and solution through dialogue concerning the Kashmir dispute.”
Turkey, China and Malaysia have been critical of India’s move to integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country whereas the rest of the international community have largely accepted the situation though they have voiced concern over the restrictions on communication in place since August.
Earlier this week, India took a second batch of 25 foriegn envoys based in New Delhi for a tour of the region. The first group of envoys had visited the region in January. A statement from the European Union in Brussels on Friday said India has taken steps to restore normalcy but added that it was important that remaining curbs be removed quickly.