China announces role as mediator between India and Pakistan on Kashmir

Sriparna Ghosh
India-China ties

India's fears that China will meddle in the Kashmir dispute seems to be coming true. The Chinese media said on Tuesday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be Beijing's road to Kashmir.

"Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan," said an article in Global Times.

The article also claimed that China had mediated between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the Rohingya refugees issues, "China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but that doesn't mean Beijing can turn a deaf ear to the demands of Chinese enterprises in protecting their overseas investments," the article said.

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According to the article, China's ability in resolving conflicts beyond its borders to maintain regional stability has increased after its recent mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue.

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Russia has rubbished Pakistani media reports that claimed Moscow was joining CPEC. In Picture: Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks at the inauguration of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor port in Gwadar, Pakistan November 13, 2016.Reuters

"For instance, while China has the capability to resolve conflicts through mediation given its increased economic influence, the nation needs to be very prudent in dealing with other big powers, India included, in the region," it said.

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"In fact, mediating between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue would perhaps be one of the toughest challenges facing China in dealing with regional affairs to safeguard its overseas interests," the article added.

This is in fact the first time that China's interest to be a mediator in the Kashmir issue has come to light. It has always suggested that India and Pakistan should resolve their Kashmir issues through bilateral negotiations.

Meanwhile, when questioned on the issue of the presence of Chinese troops in the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Beijing said that they were there to deliver humanitarian assistance. The $46 billion CPEC passes through the disputed Gilgit and Baltistan region.

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India has protested to China over the CPEC and is yet to name an official delegation to take part in a summit of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.