India Protests UK Over High Commissioner’s Visit to Mirpur, Kashmir

Three days after the UK's high commissioner to Pakistan, Jane Marriott, visited Mirpur on January 10, an Indian protest was lodged.
India summoned the UK's high commissioner, Alexander Ellis, to discuss the UK's recent visit by its Pakistan envoy to Kashmir and expressed grave concern regarding the British High Commissioner's visit to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on January 10, 2024, along with a representative of the UK Foreign Office. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) expressed strong disapproval of the violation of India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are, have been, and will always remain an integral part of India," stated the MEA.

Vinay Kwatra, the Indian foreign secretary, expressed his concerns to Ellis.

Last year, US Ambassador Donald Blome visited the Gilgit and Hunza valleys with a focus on addressing climate resilience.

India expressed its concerns about his visit to the US, but New Delhi has not disclosed whether they summoned the US ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had previously expressed concerns about the visit and meetings in Kashmir by the US envoy, which were duly communicated.

Marriott had presented her visit to Mirpur as an opportunity to connect with the diaspora community.

“Salaam from Mirpur, the heart of the UK and Pakistan’s people-to-people ties! Seventy percent of British-Pakistani roots are from Mirpur, making our work together crucial for diaspora interests. Thank you for your hospitality!”. Marriott expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome during her visit to Pakistan on January 10. She is also the first woman British high commissioner to Pakistan.

In a press release issued by the UK high commission in Islamabad regarding the Mirpur visit, the British diplomat expressed their delight in gaining insight into the cultural influences that have shaped Mirpur into its present state.

She met with the head of the Pakistan department at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Richard Lindsay, and also had discussions with the political leadership of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Marriott's outreach exercise stirred up a strong reaction among Hindutva activists on social media.

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