REFERRING to Jammu & Kashmir as a ‘disputed territory’, China has boycotted the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting being held in Srinagar. This is a typical Chinese attempt to please Pakistan and rile India. It’s also a malicious ploy by Beijing to claim the moral high ground, though the whole world can easily see through such moves. Even as New Delhi has been rightly asserting that the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir ‘is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India’, China has lost no opportunity to question the 2019 abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state.
It’s ironical that a country notorious for grabbing its neighbours’ land is expressing concern over ‘disputed’ territories. In February last year, the Ministry of External Affairs had informed the Lok Sabha that China had been in illegal occupation of about 38,000 sq km of Indian territory in the UT of Ladakh for the past six decades. The ministry had stated that under the 1963 China-Pakistan Boundary Agreement — which India has never recognised — Pakistan ceded 5,180 sq km of illegally occupied Indian territory in Shaksgam valley to China. The fact that China’s high-stakes Belt and Road Initiative — a multinational, multimodal infrastructure development project — passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir makes it obvious that Beijing has no respect for India’s territorial integrity. China has repeatedly said that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. Beijing’s own record of honouring pacts with India is pathetic. India recently told China in no uncertain terms that the violation of these agreements had eroded the basis of bilateral ties.
The boycott of the G20 meeting shows that duplicitous China can stoop to desperate levels in collusion with Pakistan. However, this own goal scored by Beijing has bolstered, rather than undermined, India’s credentials as the G20 president.
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