India asks China to stop investing in PoK

“We reject the reference to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the Joint Statement issued by China and Pakistan after the recent visit of Chinese Foreign Minister. J&K is an integral part of India,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said in New Delhi. (File Photo)

India on Tuesday once again asked China to stop investing in areas of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

New Delhi once again raised the pitch of its protest against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – ostensibly in response to Beijing's support to Islamabad to protest the recent decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

India rejected the reference to J&K in the joint statement issued by China and Pakistan last Sunday – after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a meeting with his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a visit to Islamabad. “We reject the reference to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the Joint Statement issued by China and Pakistan after the recent visit of Chinese Foreign Minister. J&K is an integral part of India,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said in New Delhi.

New Delhi reiterated its opposition to the CPEC, which, according to it, was an attempt to change the status quo in J&K areas currently under illegal occupation of Pakistan. The MEA spokesperson underlined that New Delhi had been consistently conveying its concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in the CPEC, which passed through India's territory illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.

“India is resolutely opposed to any actions by other countries to change the status quo in Pakistan-occupied J&K. We call on the parties concerned to cease such actions,” said Kumar.

The CPEC – linking China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region and the port city of Gwadar in southern Pakistan – is one of the flagship projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the ambitious cross-continental connectivity project launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping a few years back.

China has pledged over $ 60 billion to invest in the CPEC.

The Modi-Xi “informal summit” at Wuhan in central China in April 2018 brought about a thaw in the complex relations between India and China. New Delhi toned down its protest against the CPEC over the past one-and-a-half-years. But with China supporting Pakistan to carry out its diplomatic campaign against the Modi government's recent moves on J&K, New Delhi has decided to raise its pitch again.

Wang and Qureshi exchanged views on the situation in J&K during their meeting in Islamabad on Saturday. Chinese Foreign Minister also called on Pakistan's President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan apart from holding a meeting with Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa before concluding his visit to Islamabad on Sunday.

“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation, including its concerns, position, and urgent humanitarian issues,” according to the joint statement China and Pakistan issued on Sunday. “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 (United Nations) Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” it added.

Islamabad launched a diplomatic campaign against New Delhi soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on August 5 moved to strip J&K of its special status and reorganized the state into two Union Territories. China too has extended support to Pakistan's renewed bid to once again internationalize its dispute with India over J&K.

New Delhi has been maintaining that its moves on J&K were "internal affairs" of India.

Beijing criticized New Delhi's decisions on Kashmir – not only to express solidarity with its “all-weather ally” Islamabad but also because the communist country perceived India's moves to “unilaterally” change changing its domestic law as the ones that undermined territorial sovereignty of China.

What had irked Beijing was Modi government's reiteration that just as the entire J&K state had remained an integral part of India, the two new UTs too would include, not only India's territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan, but also areas Pakistan had illegally ceded to China in 1963 as well as the Aksai Chin territory, which both India and China claim as their own.

Wang was expected to travel to India from Pakistan too for holding negotiations on disputed China-India boundary with Modi's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. New Delhi, however, asked Beijing to postpone the visit, as it anticipated that Pakistan might use the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister to step up its campaign against India.

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