Beijing has joined Islamabad in seeking to settle the dispute over Kashmir in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions – a day after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Goa saw a war of words between the two countries’ foreign ministers. India and Pakistan on bilateral differences.
After a meeting between the foreign ministers of China and Pakistan, Chen Jang and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in Islamabad on Saturday, the two sides issued a joint statement, took veiled criticism in New Delhi on the Kashmir issue, and opposed what it called “unilateral measures”. It could “further complicate an already volatile situation.”
China and Pakistan also emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia and the need to resolve all outstanding disputes. The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir dispute has been left behind by history between India and Pakistan and should be properly and peacefully resolved in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” the joint statement issued in Beijing and Islamabad noted.
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India insists that the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan and the 1999 Lahore Declaration left no room for the United Nations or any third party to play any role in resolving the “unresolved issues” between the two South Asian neighbours.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government moved in August 2019 to revoke Article 370 of India’s constitution to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and reorganize the country into two union territories, Beijing and Islamabad have been running an international campaign opposing what they described as a unilateral move by New Delhi on the disputed land.
Both Chen and Bilawal were in Goa on Thursday and Friday for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, hosted by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, at a seaside resort in the coastal state. They were joined by the foreign ministers of other member states of the bloc.
However, the meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers’ Council was overshadowed by the war of words between Jaishankar and Bilawal.
Bilawal accused New Delhi of causing a setback to the peace process between India and Pakistan with its August 2019 move on Kashmir. “Wake up and smell the coffee. (Article) 370 is history.” Jaishankar replied, “The sooner people realize that, the better,” adding that the only issue New Delhi would like to discuss with Islamabad over J&K was when Pakistan would leave India’s unoccupied territory Legal His remark came in response to Bilawal’s comment that the responsibility for creating an atmosphere conducive to the resumption of the stalled Indo-Pakistani dialogue rests with New Delhi.
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Jaishankar also rejected Pakistan’s claim on J&K stating that the region was and always will be an integral part of India.
Bilawal returned to Islamabad from Goa on Friday. Chen also arrived in the Pakistani capital on Friday for a pre-scheduled visit. On Saturday, they presided over the fourth round of the Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. Speaking to the media jointly with Chen, Bilawal hailed China’s “unwavering support” on all issues of Pakistan’s core national interests “including its principled stance on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.
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