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China asserts its interests in Kashmir after India ends regions special status

After the Indian govt chose to stop the unique position of the Muslim-majority Kashmir Province and Pakistan switched to its former colleague to prevent the step, China is pushing its aspirations to the contested Kashmir region.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Kureshi of Pakistan landed in Beijing on Friday for consultations with what he referred to as a« trustworthy buddy», within a day of the choice of Islamabad to command the Indian ambassador to abandon the nation.

The shift in Kashmir status will allow any Indian citizen in the future to purchase land in the mainly hilly province, which will possibly create the basis for the Hindus living in and for the Muslim minority area in Kashmir.

However, as Western officials informed the Nikkei Asian Review, China has new grounds to be worried by occurrences in Kashmir, in particular, the three-part split of the region and the development of a new Ladakh administrative area close the China frontier. The region has a considerable amount of Buddhists, whose existence on the China frontier will strengthen India’s assistance of the Buddhist group.

For the Chinese, the existence at their borders of another Buddhist region would create a significant problem,’ said an anonymous western diplomat in Islamabad who talked to the Nikkei. The diplomat said that a result of continuing friction in Cashmir ultimately vows to deepen the footprint of the Dalai Lama— an anti-Beijing power supported by India for decades— too many Tibetan Buddhists.

It is too much at risk for Beijing, “said a leading Pakistani government representative speaking with the Nikkei soon after Foreign Minister Qureshi had arrived in Beijing on Friday.

The leaders of Pakistan, especially Prime Minister Imran Khan, publicly condemned the end of the special status of Kashmir, because this change would eventually alter the Muslim identity of the region.

“The problem of Pakistan is that India will move now into a Muslim minority with the fact of a Muslim population in Kashmir,” said senior Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum, a previous captain of the Pakistani military and now a Senate representative. General Qayyum said in an appointment with Nikkei that China has entered the struggle with two of its issues.

“As you can see, the Chinese have criticised the Indian movement, particularly concerning the Indian movement that will build a different area with a significant amount of Buddhists,” he said pointing to Ladakh’s new status under the Indian legislative reform.

For China, such growth could potentially foster a renewal of their pursuit of higher autonomy and possible independence from Beijing, especially by Uighur Muslims in the eastern Xinjiang province. Analysts said.

According to General Qayyum, China’s other issue is the safety of Chinese investments undertaken in Pakistan under the Chinese Economic Corridor. The CPEC path seeks to link western China with the harbour of Gwadar[ in central Pakistan],’ General Qayyum clarified.’ The expenditure in Pakistan is significant, and China would like to safeguard its business.’

According to statistics published continuously by the govt of Pakistan, China intends to invest over $60 billion on CPEC initiatives in Pakistan.

One minister in the Khan administration has told Nikkei that incidents in Kashmir have posed a significant security risk beyond India and Pakistan.

“In February we experienced the Pulwama event and, very rapidly, many nations were quite worried about the danger of a conflict between two nuclear-armed nations,” he said, pointing to a troop increase between India and Pakistan previously this year following a terrorist Kashmir assault regulated by India. The incident became an excuse for India to initiate an air strike in Pakistan in a supposedly militant training camp.

Independent reports subsequently verified that the location attacked by Indian aircraft was an abandoned site on a mountainside with no noticeable indications that a facility of any kind was being hosted. According to the Pakistani government, the Indian assault was rapidly accompanied by a Pakistan Air Force strike that resulted to the loss of two Indian Air Force rocket planes and the death of an Indian air force driver.

“The major powers have cause to worry about increasing conflicts among the two nuclear-armed nations,” the Western officer who talked to the Nikkei clarified. He stated that “China is situated near India and Pakistan. It (China) has a cause to be concerned about uncertainty in its immediate neighbourhood.” In the opinion of Foreign Minister Qureshi, Beijing was probably motivated by China’s anxiety about its prospects after Pakistan had scaled up the ties with India.

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