Pakistan on Wednesday threw its weight behind longtime ally Beijing on India-China face-off in the Ladakh area of disputed Jammu and Kashmir.
“China tried its best to resolve the [border] issue amicably, and through talks. But India did not take it with the same spirit, and continued constructions in the disputed region, which led to a bloody clash,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a statement.
Pakistan takes China’s side in Ladakh border clash
A total of 20 Indian soldiers died on Tuesday as a result of border clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region — the first deadly clash between the two border forces since 1975.
The incident also added to the growing criticism over the foreign policy of India’s nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is already under fire for rising border tensions with neighboring Nepal, and displeasure of Bangladesh over controversial Citizenship Law.
“This is an extraordinary situation, which has been seen in the form of a bloody clash after several decades. This clearly is the result of India’s Hindutva ideology,” Qureshi asserted.
Supporting Beijing’s “principled” stand on the border dispute with India, he said: “The 3,500-kilometer [2,174-mile] border of Ladakh and Tibet is a disputed region. If India thinks it can devour this area, then perhaps, it would not be acceptable to China.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday advised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to focus on its domestic issues instead of “behaving like an expansionist nation”.
In a series of tweets, Qureshi said: “It would serve PM Modi’s government and ‘neighborhood first’ policy well to realize India’s neighbors pose far less of a problem than their own domestic inadequacies, failures and fascism.”
It would serve PM Modi’s government and ‘neighbourhood first’ policy well to realise India’s neighbours pose far less of a problem than their own domestic inadequacies, failures and fascism.— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) June 14, 2020
The foreign minister also criticized India for “igniting border disputes with every neighbor” and said that the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government should be “focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better”.
Ladakh border dispute: an ongoing challenge for India and China
Border tensions between the two countries have existed for over seven decades.
China claims territory in India’s northeast, while New Delhi accuses Beijing of occupying its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.
“Whenever India follows this [Hindutva] ideology, and shows this (kind of) stubbornness, situation in the region will deteriorate,” he added.
India and China agree on border de-escalation as their foreign ministers spoke on the phone on Wednesday and agreed to abide by existing bilateral agreements to ensure peace and tranquillity on their disputed Himalayan border. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers in border skirmishes with the Chinese military will “not be in vain,” and vowed a response if there is further provocation.
“I would like to assure the country that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not be in vain. For us, the unity and integrity of the country is the most important… India wants peace but is capable of giving a reply if provoked,” Modi said in a televised address Wednesday.
The Chinese nationalist tabloid Global Times reported the number of deaths on the Indian side, but said China had not released information about casualties. The editor of the Global Times said on Twitter that the death toll was not released because China did not want the people of both nations to start comparisons, at a time when both countries find themselves ravaged by the coronavirus.
Shortly after Modi’s comments the Chinese foreign ministry said that it has agreed with India to de-escalate the situation as soon as possible.
Given India and Pakistan’s strained relations, it comes as no surprise that Pakistan has taken China’s side on the Ladakh border clash.
Referring to India’s scrapping of the decades-long special status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir valley last August, the foreign minister noted that China and Pakistan had rejected New Delhi’s controversial move, but “India, instead of showing a moderate approach, is toeing the policy of extremism.”
Accusing New Delhi of “continuously” rejecting Islamabad’s talks offer, Qureshi said: “Pakistan is a peace-loving country. But if India thinks Pakistan can be cowed down by its aggressive approach, (then) it will be a misunderstanding.”
Trump revokes offer to mediate
Though Trump had offered to mediate between India and China on the Ladakh issue, it seems that this is not the case anymore.
President Donald Trump will not mediate between India and China after a deadly clash between the two Asian nuclear powers, the White House said Wednesday.
There are “no formal plans,” White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters but said Trump is “aware” and monitoring the situation.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk
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