India on Thursday dismissed Pakistan’s objection to the hosting of G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and said these conferences are being organised across the country and it is “natural” to hold them in the two union territories too as they are its “integral and inalienable” part.
India is hosting a meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar in May while a youth engagement group meeting is scheduled to take place in Leh later this month.
On Tuesday, Pakistan criticised India’s decision to hold the G20 working group meeting in Srinagar and also objected to the scheduling of the Youth-20 forum in Leh.
“G20 meetings are being organised across the country. It is natural to hold them (the meetings) in Srinagar and Ladakh as the places are India’s integral and inalienable part,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
He was responding to a question on Pakistan’s objection.
“I would say that we are holding these meetings in every place. It is our natural response to have them there,” Bagchi said.
In its comments, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry had said, “India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures.”
The ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India’s warplanes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
The relations further deteriorated after India in August 2019 announced the withdrawal of special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the state into two union territories.
India assumed the Presidency of the powerful grouping G20 from Indonesia on December 1 and is hosting about 200 meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locations across the country.
The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies.
It comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).