With just a day to go until the start of an informal summit between the leaders of China and India, New Delhi has warned Beijing to stay out of its disputes with Islamabad over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
“We have seen the report regarding the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said on Thursday.
“India’s position has been consistent and clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India.”
The warning came after China and Pakistan issued a statement following Khan’s two-day trip to Beijing, saying China opposed any unilateral actions that complicated the situation in the contested region.
“The Pakistan side briefed the Chinese side on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including its concerns, position, and current urgent issues,” the statement said.
“The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
The statement prompted a swift response from the Indian National Congress, a major opposition party in the country, raising issues that China says are its internal affairs.
In a tweet on Thursday, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari questioned why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not say “we are watching pro-democracy protests muzzled in Hong Kong … We are watching human rights violations in Xinjiang … We are watching continued oppression in Tibet … We are watching South China Sea”.
China has been criticised for human rights violations in its far west regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, its contested claim to much of the South China Sea, and the four months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Kashmir – and India’s changes to the administration of the disputed region – are expected to be discussed when Xi meets Modi on Friday and Saturday near Chennai.
On August 5, New Delhi stripped Indian-controlled Kashmir of its statehood and divided it into two centrally governed union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Pakistan, China’s closest ally in South Asia, condemned the move as both Islamabad and New Delhi claim full ownership of the region.
China, which also claims part of Kashmir, said India’s “unilateral” change was “not acceptable” and “hurts Chinese sovereignty”.
China has told India it is “highly concerned” about Kashmir, and promoted Pakistan’s request for the United Nations Security Council to discuss the issue. The Indian government has insisted the matter is purely an internal affair and said the decision “has no impact on China”.
More from South China Morning Post:
- China and India try to set differences over Kashmir aside to focus on economic cooperation
- China says it will support Pakistan ‘upholding its rights’ in Kashmir row with India
- Imran Khan vows Pakistan ‘will fight till the end’ if India wages violence in Kashmir
This article Steer clear of India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir, New Delhi warns Beijing first appeared on South China Morning Post