New Delhi: Just ahead of his visit to India, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that China was paying “close attention” to Kashmir and supports Pakistan’s efforts to protect its “legitimate rights” in the Kashmir dispute.
In a joint press release issued at the conclusion of visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, China also reiterated its position that the Kashmir issue should be “properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements”.
In New Delhi, India took note of the release. “We have seen the report regarding meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
He added that China was “well aware” of India’s position that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. “It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India,” stated Kumar.
The last time that India had told China to keep out of its “internal affairs” was when Beijing reacted negatively to the creation of the new union territory of Ladakh after the revocation of Jammu an Kashmir’s special status on August 5.
The latest reaction from New Delhi occurs just two days before Chinese president reaches Chennai for the second edition of the bilateral Informal Summit.
The Chinese President’s words on Kashmir were first reported by state-run Xinhua news agency.
Imran Khan was stated as saying that Islamabad “values and appreciates China’s objective and unbiased position”.
The Chinese president “told Khan that China is paying close attention to the Kashmir situation and the facts are clear”.
As per Xinhua, Xi stated, “China supports Pakistan to safeguard its own legitimate rights and hopes that the relevant parties can solve their disputes through peaceful dialogue”.
The joint press release issued by both countries stated that Khan briefed his hosts on the situation in Kashmir.
Repeating Xi’s remarks that China was “paying close attention”, the press release also restated the Chinese position that Kashmir was a historical dispute and “should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements”.
India does not accept that the UN Security Council resolution is applicable to Kashmir, after New Delhi and Islamabad signed the Shimla agreement in 1972.
Beijing also reiterated that it opposed “any unilateral actions that complicate the situation”, which was an implicit criticism of India’s revocation of Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
“The two sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in common interest of all parties. Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” said the China-Pakistan joint press release.
China, as a permanent member of UN Security Council, had backed Pakistan’s proposal for a discussion on developments in Kashmir in New York. The discussion did take place, but it was a closed-door one, without any recorded notes or a press release.
Xi is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mahabalipuram and Chennai on October 11 and 12.