New Delhi, December 6: The Indian government on Thursday issued a statement protesting the Pakistan government's decision to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as the fifth province of the nation. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has demanded Islamabad to annul the decision and maintain status quo in the occupied region of Jammu & Kashmir.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar reiterated that India considers Pakistan's occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan, along with parts of Kashmir "illegal". He appealed Islamabad to cede the territories to India, which their forces had deceitfully taken over in 1947. Protests Break Out in Gilgit Baltistan's Hunza District Against Pakistan; Protesters Demand Fundamental Rights.
"We have said that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir has been and will remain a part of India," Raveesh Kumar said in response to a question at a media briefing here.
"Any attempt by Pakistan to change the legal status has no basis whatsoever," Kumar said, further adding, "We call upon Pakistan to vacate all occupied territories."
Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Jammu and Kashmir, but Pakistan illegally occupied it after Partition in 1947. Islamabad later divided the region into two parts - Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to reports, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a proposal to alter the region's status to that of an interim province in principle.