New Delhi: Hours after China slammed India for changing the status of J&K and Ladakh, and called the Central government’s move ‘unlawful and void,’ Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said he expects other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Saying that China has in the occupation of a large tract of the area in UTs of J-K, and Ladakh, Kumar said the country has illegally acquired Indian territories from PoK under so-called China-Pakistan boundary agreement of 1963.

“We expect other countries to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China continues to be in occupation of a large tract of the area in UTs of J-K, and Ladakh. It has illegally acquired Indian territories from PoK under so-called China-Pakistan boundary agreement of 1963,” MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a press conference.

The development comes as India on October 31 officially turned Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. The decision was taken on August 5 when the Central government scrapped Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Reacting to India’s move in the changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir, China earlier in the day called the reorganisation of the former state to two separate union territories (UT) ‘unlawful and void’.

China said the move of the Indian government violated Chinese sovereignty but will also not change the situation on the ground as part of the area in the former state remains under Chinese control.

“We do not expect other countries, including China, to comment on the matters which are internal to India, just as India refrains from commenting on internal issues of other countries. UTs of J-K, & Ladakh are an integral part of India,” Raveesh Kumar added.