New Delhi: India-China ties, already fraught with tensions, dipped further on Thursday with Beijing insisting on a discussion on Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council at Pakistan’s behest.
Ties between the neighbours, strained since early May because of intrusions by Chinese troops into Indian territory, plummeted further after a violent clash on 15 June in which 20 Indian Army personnel and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed. Talks to ensure a pullback of Chinese troops have hit a roadblock with Beijing refusing to budge from places where its soldiers are ensconced.
It was against this backdrop that China pushed for a discussion on Kashmir on Wednesday at the UN Security Council, at the behest of its close friend and ally Pakistan. Its all-weather friendship with Pakistan has been a major irritant in India-China ties.
New Delhi said it had “noted” that China “initiated a discussion in the UN Security Council on issues pertaining to the Indian Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“This was not the first time that China has sought to raise a subject that is solely an internal matter of India,” the foreign ministry said.
“As on such previous occasions, this attempt too met with little support from the international community. We firmly reject China’s interference in our internal affairs and urge it to draw proper conclusions from such infructuous attempts,” it said.
The discussion at the UN Security Council coincided with the first anniversary of India revoking a special provision in its Constitution, Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
On 5 August 2019, India’s Parliament had passed a bill to allow the region to be integrated closer with the country. The move had caught Pakistan off guard as New Delhi took the Indian-administered part of Kashmir off the negotiating table with Islamabad. Pakistan has since been trying to refocus attention on Kashmir and the campaign is being led by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. Last September, Khan’s speech at the UN General Assembly was focused on Kashmir.
China’s support to Pakistan to get the matter discussed at the UN Security Council followed a statement by the Chinese foreign office calling India’s revocation of Article 370 “illegal and invalid”.
On Thursday, India also reminded China that it had agreed that “early and complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and de-escalation from India-China border areas” and “full restoration of peace and tranquillity was essential for the smooth overall development of bilateral relations”.
“India remains committed to this objective. We also expect that the Chinese side will work with us sincerely for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in New Delhi.
With inputs from Live Mint