When the latest news arrives, China sides with Pakistan on Kashmir but its intentions are better served by not interfering in India’s ‘internal matter’.
On 31st October 2019, the news was ripe as India and China engaged in a diplomatic war of words over the latest developments in Kashmir. This came after India formally bifurcated the state into two union territories J&K and Ladakh. The latest move is a bid to fully integrate the disputed territory into India. The latest move comes in accordance with the 5th August news of abrogating Article 370 which revoked the special status enjoyed by Jammu & Kashmir.
Why China’s ‘bully boy tactics’ won’t deter India?
However, China has repeatedly objected to this big move by the Indian government. India, in response, slams China and warns it from meddling in an ‘internal matter’. India also accuses China of “illegally acquiring” Indian Territory post-1962 Indo-China war. Furthermore, some parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) given by Pakistan to China under the so-called China Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963 also comes under dispute.
How Kashmir influences India and China Relations?
India is definitely in a disadvantageous situation because of China’s growing soft power in the Indian Ocean. The One Belt One Road Initiative (Belt and Road Initiative) stretches from the South Asia and Southeast Asia to East Africa and then the Mediterranean Sea. On the other side “String of Pearls”, a geopolitical strategy developed by China to encircle India through many airfields, ports, and modernize military forces, and making strong diplomatic relations with the trading countries.
CPEC corridor passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan territory, a part of POK, where the presence of Chinese troops has been reported. And during any hostile situation, China can encircle India.
Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson objects to J&K bifurcation and calls it an “unlawful and void” decision saying the bifurcated territory also include some of China’s territory.
This Beijing claims pose a challenge to China’s sovereignty and outrightly opposed. It stands against India’s unilaterally changed domestic laws and administrative jurisdiction over China’s claimed territory.
India is against the CPEC plan, making it tough for China to proceed further into developing infrastructure. Earlier the region was under the state government rule, but when India bifurcated the J&K state, it opened the way for a direct confrontation between India and China because now the center has direct control over the said territory.
As per the latest news, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar said that China is well aware of India’s clear and consistent position on Kashmir’s issue. India does not expect any nation including China to comment on it, just as India refrains itself from commenting on the internal matters of other countries.
The matter of reorganizing the state into two territories is entirely India’s internal matter. So, India expects other nations to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Modi and Xi diplomacy over Kashmir
Why Kashmir was not discussed during the Informal meet of India-China
If Kashmir talks were significant for China’s sovereignty, then why did PM Modi and President Xi Jinping not talk on the matter during their informal meet on 11th and 12th October.
This might be because of India’s growing relationship with the US, USSR and other stronger economies and also a changing diplomatic scenario. China is also well aware of India’s clear and consistent position over the J&K issue. China is now not in a position to bully India, the way it does with smaller nations, especially in South Asia.
What is China’s hidden agenda in empty threats on Kashmir?
It is not only that India is a nuclear power but to a great extent an economic competitor to China. As a result of the US-China trade war, many western investors are shifting industries and supply chains to India.
- Rise of China’s Soft Power and How India is fighting the Hegemony
- Article 370- China: Unacceptable; Pakistan: Illegal; US: Closely Observing; UN: Exercise Restraint
- China Turning PoK into Pakistan’s Economic Engine
- Stopgap Diplomacy: Why Modi and Xi need the ‘Informal’ Summits
Is it diplomacy to keep both Pakistan and India at bay?
Pakistan’s inefficacious futile attempts to take Kashmir issue globally have failed. But ally China set the table for talks and arranged an informal UNSC meet.
However, the UNSC informal meet came as a rebuff to both China and Pakistan as it ended without passing and resolution or statement. So why is China favouring Pakistan even though India is not interested in taking back the land illegally occupied by China?
There is nothing more than the large and heavy investments that China is eagerly investing in Pakistan for its own benefits. The construction for the CPEC corridor, or developing ports for Pakistan like Gawadar port. It will help China bypass the sea route in contingency situations because of India’s presence in the Indian Ocean and almost 80% of total China’s fuel from the middle eastern countries passes through the Strait of Malacca thus making it vital to China’s economy.
The Soft Power at Stake
China might have been trying to gradually approach its plan of CPEC and other projects under construction in Pakistan. But with reference to India, it would be difficult for them to continue especially when India bifurcated the J&K state. China is aggressive in the South China Sea, but acquiring the Himalayas is a totally different story.
The Chinese government knows that any significant proceedings in the POK part would definitely lead to conflict between India and China, which could even suspend diplomatic talks. Consequently, this will affect trade between the countries. Moreover, any escalation of conflict will affect China’s global economy.
Indian Market’s vitality to China
In 2018, Pakistan’s total export from China stood at US $1,818,069,216 and total imports from China also was US $14,544,686,752. However, the trade exchange between Pak and China is significantly low as compared to India.
However, according to the Daily Times report, Pakistan’s imports from China has been decreased to $10.2 billion in the 2019 fiscal year from $11.5 billion in the 2018 fiscal year. But on the other side, the economic and commercial engagement between India-China is a major component of the bilateral trade, which had crossed $95.54 billion in 2018 and expected to cross $100 billion in 2019.
Both India and China know the truth
In latest news on Kashmir, Geng Shuang said that India’s decision is “unlawful and void” and it won’t affect and change any fact that the area is under actual Chinese control. Moreover, it is perhaps an explicit fact that both the countries know it since post-1962 Indo-China war.
He further added that China urges India to respect Chinese territorial sovereignty and abide by the treaties both countries shares. They should uphold peace and tranquility on border areas and also create favourable conditions for settling border disputes.
Geng also said that China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent and as per the latest news, the dispute should be resolved by following UN charter, UNSC resolutions and other bilateral treaties and all the relevant sides should resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogues.
Words differ from Actions
Furthermore, even after the latest news of the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited China in August and informed Chinese counterpart Wang that the revocation has no implication on LAC (Line of Actual Control) and also India’s external boundaries. He also stated that the J&K matter is the sole prerogative of India’s internal matter.
However, India-China LAC is around 3,488 km. To resolve the territorial disputes, representatives from both the countries held 21 rounds of talks. But the neighbours still could not solve the problems. Hence, it shows how eagerly both nations want to settle territorial disputes.