New Delhi, Jan 13 (EFE).- India on Saturday protested the visit of the British ambassador in Islamabad, Jane Marriott, to Pakistani-administered Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by New Delhi.
“India has taken a serious note of the highly objectionable visit of the British High Commissioner in Islamabad, along with a UK Foreign Office official, to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on 10 January 2024,” the India Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The statement called the visit by the British diplomat an “infringement of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which “is unacceptable.”
It said the Indian government “has lodged a strong protest with the British High Commissioner in India on this infringement.”
The statement said the entire Himalayan territory as it existed before a military partition in 1948 “shall always remain an integral part of India.”
The protest comes after Marriott shared a series of photos of her visit on the social network X (formerly Twitter) to Mirpur, which is part of the Azad Kashmir region, administered by Pakistan.
Marriott said that since “70% of British Pakistani roots are from Mirpur”, it was crucial for her to work together with the interests of the diaspora, The Tribune reported.
“Salaam from Mirpur, the heart of the UK and Pakistan’s people-to-people ties! Seventy percent of British-Pakistani roots are from Mirpur, making our work together crucial for diaspora interests. Thank you for your hospitality!” said Marriott.
The Muslim-majority mountainous region is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed entirely by the two South Asian nuclear powers who have fought two of their three major wars over the territory.
Azad Kashmir, which translates to Free Kashmir, is the portion that came under Pakistan’s control while the majority of the region, known as Jammu and Kashmir, has been controlled by India since the war in 1948 that ended in a ceasefire line dividing the territory.
India’s massive military presence and an armed rebellion by Muslims in Kashmir have made the region very volatile and one of the most militarized in the world.
Visits by foreign diplomats to Pakistani Kashmir are seen by India as an aggression against its sovereignty. EFE