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China denies visas for Tibet pilgrimage to Indians after New Delhi reasserts claim over part of Ladakh under its rule

Mt Kailash, Tibet.

(TibetanReview.net, Aug07’19) – China has refused visas to a group of Indians planning to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in western Tibet on the day it criticized New Delhi for separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir state and putting it under direct federal administration. China’s bone of contention is that India includes Aksai Chin, which is under its control, as part of Ladakh.

“China always opposes India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in the western section of the China-India boundary under its administrative jurisdiction,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.

“This position is firm and consistent and has never changed. The recent unilateral revision of domestic laws by the Indian side continues to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty, which is unacceptable and will not have any effect,” she added.

After India decided Aug 5 to revoke the state’s special status and split it into two union territories, China also asked both India and Pakistan Aug 6 to exercise restraint while voicing “serious concern” over the situation in the Muslim-majority Kashmir.

India was firm in rejecting China’s criticism. “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019, introduced by the Government in Parliament on Aug 5, which proposes the formation of a new ‘Union Territory of Ladakh’ is an internal matter concerning the territory of India,” said India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

The annual Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet, occupied and annexed by China after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, is organised by India’s Ministry of External Affairs from June to September each year through two different routes – Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand state and Nathu La Pass in Sikkim state.

While the state Reorganization Bill is bitterly opposed by the Muslim-majority Kashmir, residents of the Hindu-majority Jammu and Buddhists in Ladakh celebrated the decision.

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