No mediation needed

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No mediation needed

China, like other nations, must keep away from Kashmir issue. Plus, Beijing lacks credibility

It is silly of China to offer mediation between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. In the first place, India has reiterated on multiple occasions that the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral one with Pakistan and that both nations have committed themselves through a binding agreement to resolving it without any outside intervention. The international community also has come around to this view, although there had been sporadic attempts by certain nations in the past to meddle in the affair. New Delhi has consistently maintained that it is ready to discuss and resolve all matters with Islamabad, including that of Kashmir, provided Pakistan stops fomenting terrorism in India. If at all Beijing is keen on seeing good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan — as it keeps claiming it is — then it must use its influence with the latter and persuade it to abandon the dangerous path of giving shelter to terrorists and praising their actions against Indian interests. Beijing is strongly placed to undertake this exercise, given that Pakistan is heavily dependent on it for economic and international support. But China has a poor track record here. It hasn't said much on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, whether it was the Uri or the Pathankot attacks last year or the more recent terror assault on the Amarnath pilgrims that claimed more than half a dozen lives. On this matter, Beijing is playing a devious game. While it praises India for a tough stance on terrorism, it also speaks Pakistan's language in defence of terror. At international forms, Beijing calls for a robust response to terrorism, but continues to block India's attempts at the United Nations to name Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist. China can give any number of technical reasons in defence but the bare fact is that it wants to protect its friend and ally, Pakistan. Even if India were willing for third party intervention, Beijing's credentials as a mediator would have been suspect.

But China's audacity goes beyond. It seeks to position itself as a good-intentioned neighbour wanting peace and stability in the region by negotiating better relations between India and Pakistan, even as it tries to establish its hegemony on territory that, by virtue of status quo, if nothing else, belongs to a third nation. The standoff between the Indian and the Chinese forces at Dok La, where Beijing is claiming territory in Bhutan's border to be its own, is a case in point. The Chinese official media and a few of that country’s senior officials have sent out barely disguised threats to New Delhi to behave or be prepared for a

1962-like situation. New Delhi has responded adequately in an equally strong verbal manner. Given that the Indian forces have dug in their heels (they are committed to protecting Bhutan's territorial integrity), the Chinese, taken aback by the new show of resolve, have upped the ante through even more warnings of dire consequences in case Indian troops did not fall back. Beijing, then, is no neutral umpire that can be expected to resolve the India-Pakistan dispute in a non-partisan manner — though it must be reiterated yet again here that New Delhi needs no umpire on Kashmir in the first place.

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