New Delhi: India on Thursday hit out at Pakistan for raising the Kashmir issue at a virtual meeting of the multilateral grouping CICA, and advised Islamabad to cease its "overt and covert" support to cross-border terrorism.
In a sharp reaction, the Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan has misused another forum by continuing its "spurious narrative" about India.
Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue at the ministerial meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), an intergovernmental forum of 27 countries.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar represented India at the meeting.
The MEA said Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on internal affairs of India, asserting that the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of the country.
"Pakistan's remarks today constitute gross interference in India's internal affairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity which is inconsistent with the CICA Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States of September 1999," the MEA said, in response to remarks by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
It said Pakistan is the "global epicentre" of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activities in India.
"We advise Pakistan to cease its sponsorship and overt and covert support to terrorism against India. This will enable the two countries to engage and address issues bilaterally rather than distract this important forum from its agenda," the MEA said.
It is very typical of Pakistan to use such fora to raise bilateral and contentious issues which is inconsistent with the principles and charter of such organizations and their meetings. What else can be expected of a country that indulges in cross-border terrorism as a part of its state policy.
When asked about Pakistan's action at the CICA meet, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said it is "very typical" of Pakistan to use such fora to raise bilateral and contentious issues.
"What else can be expected of a country that indulges in cross-border terrorism as a part of its state policy," he said at a virtual media briefing.
In his address at the CICA meeting, Jaishankar called for greater collective efforts to counter terrorism and its sponsors.
Jaishankar also congratulated Kazakhstan on assuming the Chair of CICA and reaffirmed India's support for the grouping's initiatives on peace, security and prosperity in Asia.
He shared India's efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its contribution to partner countries in CICA and beyond.
The MEA said he underlined India's traditional ties with Central Asia, shared perspectives on counter-terrorism, and Afghanistan.
India has been a member of CICA since its inception in 1999 and has been actively participating in various activities of the grouping.