Influential Beijing think-tank links abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir to LAC tensions with India

The report titled ‘India blinded by double confidence’ says India’s move posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China

New Delhi: A report by an influential Chinese think-tank has linked the current tensions between India and Chine along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to the decision taken by India last year to abrogate Article 370 and alter the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir: a decision that China had vocally not been in favour of.

The piece describing the pronouncement as a joint challenge to China and Pakistan, for the first time, said the move had “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China”.

On Friday, a Chinese diplomat, whose twitter profile says he is a press officer at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, shared the report, albeit it having been published first on June 4 and has been shared on several Chinese websites since.

The article, titled “India blinded by ‘double confidence”, penned by Wang Shida, Deputy Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), stated that the move had “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China” and “made India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex.” It also mentioned that China had raised the issue at the United Nations Security Council.

CICIR is a Beijing-based think-tank that is affiliated to China’s top intelligence, Ministry of State Security body.

The article began by maintaining India had since last August “taken constant actions to unilaterally change the status quo of Kashmir and continued to exacerbate regional tensions” and said India’s move to change the status quo in Kashmir “constitutes a serious threat to regional peace” and “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China”.

Wang noted that following the abrogation of Article 370, the Chinese Foreign Minister had conveyed China’s resilient resistance to the move to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to Beijing last year, and the formation of Ladakh as a union territory.

The week before the August visit, Home Minister Amit Shah had also spoken about “taking back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin” in the parliament.

Jaishankar told Beijing that the move was an entirely internal matter that did not bear any consequences on India’s external boundaries or the LAC with China, who had opposed the Ladakh map for including Aksai Chin.

The article stated that the move had “made India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex” and “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China” and further carried that China had raised the issue at the United Nations Security Council.

The author hit out at what he referred to as India’s “double confidence” behind the decision.

The first, according to him, was the 2019 election win that bestowed the Bharatiya Janata Party with “unprecedented political confidence”. The second being, the “United States and some other Western countries puffed India up from an ideological point of view” to “hedge” against China.

“To this end,” he said, “India was seen as a favourite by the U.S., which not only drew India over to its side and praised India but also turned a blind eye to the excessive use of force and other misdeeds of the Indian authorities” in Kashmir.

“Regardless of how confident India is and no matter how good it feels about itself,” he concluded, “its attempts to forcibly seize territory are doomed to fail.”

Earlier today, Army Chief General MM Naravane said that the “situation along our borders with China is under control”, adding that a series of meetings between senior military commanders from both sides had resulted in “a lot of disengagement” and that “all perceived differences that we (India and China) have will be set to rest”.

India and China are currently engaged in military level talks to disengage in the Ladakh region where tensions have been building up. Armies of both countries have gotten into fist fights in the high altitude region.

Indian side maintains that both parties have mutually agreed to pull back troops, but accept that tension in the Pangong Tso region remains.

Chinese government mouthpiece has been upping its rhetoric while the PLA has been moving heavy weaponry to the border and conducting military drills.

A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh has said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.

The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslims majority region of Kashmir.

When India scrapped 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.

This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.” This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.


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