China Announces Role as Mediator on Kashmir

BEIJING: With relations between India and Pakistan hitting an “all-time low” China on Tuesday virtually announced its role as a mediator in the Kashmir dispute between two hostile nuclear powered neighbours to fulfill its responsibility as a “stabilising force and conflict mediator” in South Asia.

The Chinese state-run media said that the country was ready to interfere in the Kashmir issue to protect its massive investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This makes it obvious that the CPEC will be Beijing’s road to Kashmir, proving true India’s fear of China meddling in the issue, Indian analysts reacted shortly after the report appeared.

“Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan,” read an article in daily Global Times, which reflects Beijing’s official position.

Chinese President XI Jinping’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) is an ambitious plan to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe by pumping in billions of dollars in infrastructure projects such as railways, ports and power grids.

The article reads that China only appears not to “interfere” in the internal affairs of other countries but its investments, like the CPEC, gives it the power to launch its diplomatic game.     

China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but that doesn’t mean Beijing can turn a deaf ear to the demands of Chinese enterprises in protecting their overseas investments, the op-ed further reads.

China has invested $54 billion in the CPEC that runs through Pakistan controlled Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan.

Beijing has all along turned a deaf ear to the Indian objections that it was undertaking projects in the disputed territory.

The article sheds lights on how China’s position as a country which can be influential for the regional power balance. “China has been at the centre of a regional power shift, thus the country now needs to learn how to act as a stabilising force and conflict mediator in the region,” the piece goes on to say.

Beijing invested in the CPEC despite India’s objections with an eventual aim of interfering in the Kashmir issue under the name of “protecting its investments”, say analysts in New Delhi.

Giving importance and highlighting the sensitivity of Kashmir dispute, the Chinese daily’s opinion read: ”… mediating between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue would perhaps be one of the toughest challenges facing China in dealing with regional affairs to safeguard its overseas interests.”

India has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral problem to be resolved between New Delhi and Islamabad.

It is noteworthy here that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently on a two-day visit to India, had advocated a multilateral dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue with Pakistan – an offer rejected by India, but welcomed by Pakistan.



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