NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday sought immediate access to the area in Gilgit-Baltistan (under Pak occupation) where Buddhist archaeological sites have been destroyed for its expert team to restore vandalised structures.

In response to media queries regarding reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of Buddhist archaeological sites in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “We have conveyed our strong concern at reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of invaluable Indian Buddhist heritage located in so called “Gilgit-Baltistan” area of the Indian territory under illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan.”

“It is a matter of grave concern that the Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Egregious activities of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilizational and cultural heritage are highly condemnable.”

“We have sought immediate access for our experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage. We have once again called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end gross violation of political, economic and cultural rights of people living there,” emphasised the spokesperson.

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