Beijing/New Delhi: When Union Foreign Minister S Jaishankar visited China days after his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi travelled to Beijing to seek China’s support for his country’s attempts to take India’s move to revoke special status to Kashmir to the UN Security Council, China issued a statement that was loaded, much as it might not be entirely to Pakistan’s liking.
After India’s move, China issued two separate statements outlining its position on Ladakh and, Jammu and Kashmir. In one of the statements, China objected to the formation of Ladakh as Union Territory by India, saying it undermined its territorial sovereignty. It expressed “serious concern” about the current situation in the region and said that “relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently”.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.” On China’s comment on Ladakh, Kumar said India and China have agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question on the basis of the ‘Political Parameters and Guiding Principles’ for the settlement of India-China boundary question. Pending such a settlement, both sides have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas on the basis of the relevant agreements, Kumar had said in New Delhi.
But while India maintains that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are integral parts of the country and the issue is strictly internal to the country, China has implicitly fired a new salvo at India, keeping its own Hong Kong situation in mind. “China is going to take stern measures in Hong Kong, crushing the pro-democracy movement,” said Supreme Court lawyer Amitabh Sinha, adding that India must take a position on the issue regardless of what China says about Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Whereas an anti-India sentiment prevails in a section of Kashmir, beginning with first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s mishandling of the affairs of the region affected later by Islamic terrorism, Hong Kong has been anti-China well before the introduction of the extradition bill (suspended amid protests). Due to some shortcomings of China, the United Kingdom had kept Hong Kong with itself. Until it transferred the region to China, it built a pro-democratic mindset in the people of Hong Kong. That mindset has prevailed even after Hong Kong’s integration with China,” Sinha said, giving a historical perspective.
Sirf News had reported on 17 May that many in Hong Kong hold that leaders are stamping down on the financial hub’s unique freedoms and culture. The imprisonment of protest leaders, the disqualification of popular lawmakers and the disappearance of Beijing-critical booksellers, are among the recent examples of a government failing.
“Now, look at China’s trick. It is telling its domestic audience and the international community that Hong Kong protesters are inching towards terrorism!” Sinha said. “They want that, in return of their less belligerent stand on Kashmir, we do not raise the heat on Hong Kong. They are equating a pro-democracy movement with terrorism,” he added, saying this is dangerous and India must watch out for the trap the Chinese are laying.