Pakistan protests India-Britain military exercise
5 hours ago
ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan said on Monday it had lodged protests with Britain and India over a joint military exercise in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
Britain's Royal Marines last week kicked off 25 days of joint high-altitude exercises with the Indian army in the northern Ladakh region, which is part of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each hold part of Kashmir but lay claim to all of it. Kashmir has sparked two of their three wars since independence 60 years ago.
"We have sent demarches to both the British government and the Indian government," foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a weekly briefing. A demarche is a formal diplomatic representation.
"This is not a legitimate activity because Jammu and Kashmir is internationally recognized disputed territory," she said, adding "More than anybody else the British should be aware of it."
Britain ruled the Indian subcontinent until 1947 when it was split into Hindu-majority India and mainly Muslim Pakistan. Many here still blame Britain for failing to resolve the Kashmir issue before leaving.
Pakistan last week protested to India over a plan to allow trekkers to visit the disputed 6,300-metre (20,800-feet) Siachen glacier in Kashmir, where thousands of troops from both countries are stationed.
Aslam stepped up criticism of the move on Monday, saying the Indian presence in Siachen violated a 1972 accord.
"The Indian military's aggression into Siachen, its presence there and any activity that it sponsors in this area is illegal," she said.
Pakistan would raise the issue during the next round of a slow moving peace process that the two countries launched in 2004, she said.
AFP: Pakistan protests India-Britain military exercise