KARACHI: Many were left flustered and frothing at the mouth in India's diplomatic circles after a Chinese diplomat in Pakistan linked the Ladakh standoff with the illegal annexation of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) by New Delhi, suggesting it posed a challenge to the sovereignty of both China and Pakistan.
“India’s actions of unilaterally changing the status quo of Kashmir and continuing to exacerbate regional tensions have posed a challenge to the sovereignty of China and Pakistan and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex,” Wang Xianfeng, the spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Islamabad tweeted.
The tweet comes at a time when soldiers from the two countries are camped out at Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region, accusing each other of trespassing over the disputed border.
The two armies have since thinned out some forces in a positive signal but soldiers, tanks and other armoured carriers remained heavily deployed in the high-altitude region.
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It is the most serious border flare-ups for years after Chinese patrols advanced into what India deems its side of the de facto border. China claims the territory to be its own and has objected to the Indian construction of roads in the area.
Wang's tweet stirred confusion and panic in New Delhi as many saw it a "collaborated" effort of Islamabad and Beijing to bring New Delhi under pressure.
Amitabh Mathur, a former special secretary in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), questioned the timing of the Chinese official’s tweet and said it underscored the complex issues involved in the ongoing standoff, Hindustan Times reported.
“It seems as if the Chinese are leaning on us and the situation isn’t as simple as some are making it out to be. It’s also strange that such a tweet emanated from a Chinese official in Islamabad. There is a Pakistani connection to it and it’s almost as if the Chinese are trying to reassure the Pakistanis,” he said.
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When India scrapped Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.
“China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border,” it said.
Wang’s tweet was linked to the article, titled “India blinded by ‘double confidence’” by scholar Wang Shida of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, which began by saying India had since last August “taken constant actions to unilaterally change the status quo of Kashmir and continued to exacerbate regional tensions”.
According to the article, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had conveyed his country’s position on these issues to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar when he visited Beijing last year that “India’s moves challenged China’s sovereign rights and interests and violated the agreement on maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas between the two countries”.