Is China using its One Belt One Road initiative as an alibi to meddle in Kashmir dispute?

Santosh Chaubey

 
May 1, 2017
China has made huge investment in its One Belt One Road initiative, whose significant part runs across Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Therefore, China cannot afford to be a mute spectator to the Kashmir dispute. 
Global Times, China’s hardline tabloid has called for an increased Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia.

Citing Chinese mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the Rohingya refugees issue in an article published today, it read that it is imperative that China protects the interests of its organisations with their increasing global footprint across the world, saying that ‘Beijing cannot turn a deaf ear to such demands’.

It read that, China has made huge investments in many countries under its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and therefore it has ‘vested interests’ to mediate in regional conflicts including the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan’.

 According to the article, the Chinese experience over the Rohingya issue should serve as a template for the larger Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia.

MEDIA’S INSINUATIONS

Such provocations by a section of the media in China are gradually becoming a trend. Recently, an editorial suggested that China should intervene in the Kashmir issue actively after India declined illegitimate Chinese demands of clamping down on Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh is South Tibet and even went on to rename six Arunachal Pradesh cities in maps released by it.

India has made it clear that Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan, is an integral part of India and if there has to be a dialogue, it has to be bilateral in nature and would focus on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

THE PARADOX

A significant part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative passes through PoK where China is making huge investment and which India has objected to because ideally it is Indian territory.

It also exposes China’s double standards.

China’s considers Arunachal Pradesh its territory and cannot tolerate Dalai Lama’s visit to the state but on the other hand, it sends an army in the name of safeguarding a disputed territory that has been historically a part of India.

ON MYANMAR

Though some reports say that Myanmar has turned down the offer of Chinese mediation, Myanmar may finally succumb to China’s pressure.

China has gradually increased its investments in Myanmar to a significant level including an oil pipeline through Myanmar that gives China direct access to crude oil from Middle East and Africa. The oil pipeline is an important part of China’s One Belt One Road map.