A Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter of the Indian Air Force flying over Ladakh region

On December 13, 2023, China said that the Indian Supreme Court's verdict on Article 370 does not change the fact that the western section of the China-India border belongs to China.

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld the Indian government's 2019 decision to remove Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy. The Indian government also bifurcated the state and turned the two new entities into union territories.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that Beijing "never recognized India's unilaterally, illegally established Ladakh Union Territory".

China has said that it doesn’t recognise the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the Narendra Modi government’s decision to carve out a separate Union Territory for Ladakh from erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.

This is the second consecutive time that China has reacted to the Indian apex court’s verdict backing the Union government’s move to repeal Article 370 and strip the Himalayan state of its special autonomy and other privileges.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said that the verdict won’t impact Beijing’s stance that the “western section of the China-India border has always belonged to China”.

“China has never recognised the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh set up unilaterally and illegally by India. India’s domestic judicial verdict does not change the fact that the western section of the China-India border has always belonged to China,” she said.

The remarks reflect China’s consistent position on the Ladakh issue, which it had also openly expressed after the Indian government’s move in 2019. At that time, China protested calling it a “unilateral revision of domestic laws”.

On Tuesday, when asked to react on the Kashmir issue, Mao called on India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the issue under the ambit of the United Security resolutions.

"The Kashmir issue, left from the past, needs to be resolved peacefully and appropriately in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and relevant bilateral agreement," she had said.

India-China Rift

In 2019, China said that the “reorganisation” of Jammu and Kashmir was “unacceptable”, especially the separation of Ladakh into a union territory.

At the time, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the parliament that both Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are integral parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to reports, after Article 370 was revoked, China asked for “close-door consultations” in the UN Security Council after its all-weather ally Pakistan formally called for an emergency meeting.

A year after that, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in an intense fistfight in 2020 at the Galwan Valley after the latter crossed the traditional patrolling points in eastern Ladakh. As many as 20 Indian soldiers died, while China also suffered casualties.