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Unacceptable: India Strongly Objects To British High Commissioners Visit To PoK

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NEW DELHI: The Government of India (GoI) has taken serious note of the highly objectionable visit of the British High Commissioner in Islamabad, Jane Marriott, along with a UK Foreign Office official, to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on January 10, 2024. Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement condemning the visit. ”Such infringement of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unacceptable. The Foreign Secretary has lodged a strong protest with the British High Commissioner in India on this infringement,” the MEA statement said. 

 

 

The row erupted after UK High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott recently visited Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). She justified her visit to the area claimed by India because “70 per cent of British Pakistani roots are from Mirpur, making our work together crucial for diaspora interests”.

“Salaam from Mirpur, the heart of the UK and Pakistan’s people-to-people ties! 70 per cent of British-Pakistani roots are from Mirpur, making our work together crucial for diaspora interests. Thank you for your hospitality!” said the diplomat on her January 10 visit.

Social media users in India were up in arms and some described her visit as “shameful”, while some felt it could be her personal decision and not that of pro-Hindu British PM Rishi Sunak.

India had in October last year criticised US envoy to Pakistan Donald Blome’s tour of PoK. Last month, pictures of the US envoy interacting with locals in PoK’s Gilgit-Baltistan raised eyebrows in New Delhi as India considers the region part of its territory. 

The US envoy had rankled more because his six-day visit was briefly kept under wraps. But the US embassy in Islamabad then issued a series of tweets detailing the envoy’s each engagement in the region.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had then said, “We have objections regarding the visit and the meetings in PoK by the US envoy and we have conveyed the same.” 

Notably, Marriott is the first woman British High Commissioner to Pakistan.





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