China’s clumsy balancing act on the issue of Kashmir is more a reflection on its own geopolitical dilemma than a pragmatic take on the ground realities. It is akin to juggling with several balls at the same time. On one hand, Beijing is keen to make the informal summit between its President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi a big success to create an overarching road map to take the bilateral ties forward while on the other, it doesn’t want to displease its all-weather strategic ally Pakistan. As a result, mutually contradictory statements have been emerging from China on Kashmir, alternately appeasing Islamabad and New Delhi. First, it described Kashmir as a bilateral issue and advised the two Asian neighbours to sort it out through dialogue and consultations. However, during a meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Xi Jinping in Beijing, it said the situation in Kashmir was being “closely watched” and expressed support to Pakistan’s “core interests”. It went a step further and called for the resolution of Kashmir as per the UN Charter and relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Such a diplomatic somersault shows that Beijing is unable to shed the tendency to hyphenate India with Pakistan and is unable to acknowledge the ground realities. India’s position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of the country and any administrative measure pertaining to the region within the constitutional framework and with Parliament’s approval is an internal matter. One wonders why any other country should even comment on the internal affairs of India.
If there is any issue of urgent concern for the international community, it should be terrorism being exported by Pakistan. India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for decades and it is an open secret that Islamabad has made terrorism an instrument of the state policy and has nurtured anti-India militant groups on its soil. The unhindered training, financing and support for these terror groups has landed Pakistan in deep trouble as it now faces blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body to monitor terror financing. Instead of taking decisive measures to dismantle terror factories, Pakistan has been using global forums to internationalise the Kashmir issue but with little success. Barring China, no other permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) came in support of Islamabad. Beijing must realise the folly of supporting a terror state when the entire world acknowledges that Pakistan is the epicentre of global terrorism and its role in fomenting terrorist activities in the Kashmir Valley is undeniable. As a global economic superpower, China has much to gain from improving trade and business ties with India.