China's expression of serious concern over what it termed as a “deteriorating situation” in Indian-administered Kashmir at Tuesday’s meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) does not augur well for the 22nd round of boundary-related talks, with India tentatively scheduled for 21 December, an analyst said on Wednesday.
“Raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC will have a definite impact on the atmospherics of engagement between the Special Representatives of China and India. By seeking a detailed briefing from the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), Beijing has raised a new complication for its ongoing dialogue with New Delhi”, said Professor Sujit Dutta, distinguished fellow and editor (national security) at the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a New Delhi-based think tank.
Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun’s request to the 15-member UNSC to tell the UNMOGIP to present its report on Kashmir before the council was “not a very happy situation” and only “reaffirmed Beijing’s attempts to stall forward movement on bilateral relations”, Professor Dutta stated further.
“We all know the Security Council has received a letter from the foreign minister of Pakistan requesting discussions and those discussions are going on”, Ambassador Zhang said on Tuesday, 17 December.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged the UNSC through his letter to take cognisance of the “disturbing developments across the Line of Control (LoC) which constitute (a) threat to peace and security” in South Asia.
At its last meeting on Kashmir on 5 August, UNSC council members did not issue a statement on their deliberations, as several countries disagreed on its wording, with some even fearing that any comment could escalate tensions or show bias to either India or Pakistan.
“Boundary talks should happen. It has been 40 years since India and China took a decision to engage with each other again after the freeze of the 1960s and most of the 1970s. This time, both sides should agree to some sort of settlement on issues over which they differ, including the boundary question”, Professor Dutta said.
Both Prime Minister Modi and President Xi have said that any dialogue between the two countries is meant to intensify efforts to achieve a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution’’ to the India-China boundary question at an early date.
“This dialogue is crucial for maintaining peace in the border areas and preventing military flare-ups that could jeopardise overall development of bilateral ties”, Professor Dutta told Sputnik.
At the last meeting of Special Representatives, which took place in the Chinese city of Chengdu in 2018, India’s Ajit Doval and China’s Wang Yi directed the bilateral Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination for Border Affairs to work for more confidence-building measures that could promote communication between Indian and Chinese border personnel.
In August this year, China objected to India ending the special quasi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir state, which included the region of Ladakh, over which both countries have a territorial dispute. Historically, the district of Leh covered the area of Aksai Chin that currently remains in Chinese control.
While Beijing said the move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by an Act of Parliament in August and replace it with two federally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – in October has undermined its sovereignty, New Delhi has responded by saying, “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.”
“Resolving boundary disputes related to the western and eastern sectors of Ladakh is difficult, but both countries can certainly work to reach an understanding on the central sector”, Professor Dutta told Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.