The current Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang stated on Tuesday—during a visit by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan—that China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its independent sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“China-Pakistan friendship enjoys a profound foundation and the two peoples enjoy traditional friendship. There are no strings attached to our relationship, and it is not targeted at any third party,” Li said while meeting Imran Khan at the Great Hall of the People.
An op-ed published in the Chinese tabloid Global Times, associated to the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) mouthpiece People’s Daily, asserted that India should refrain from blaming Pakistan and China for terror attacks. This article stated that China itself is a victim of terrorism, and it has pledged to support the international community’s anti-terrorism efforts and stands ready to work with India and all other countries to fight terrorism.
“Without solid evidence, India has long accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed and other militant groups and China of providing uncritical support for Pakistan Instead of simply blaming other countries, especially Pakistan and China, shouldn’t the Indian government make more self-introspection on its anti-terrorism policy and dwell more on how to better administer the India-controlled part of Kashmir?”, the article said.
Pakistan’s biggest supporter, China (a permanent member of the UN Security Council) had used its veto power on March 13, 2019, to prevent the UN Security Council crackdown on the JeM chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, by putting him on its list of banned terrorists. On May 01, 2019, after almost a decade UN Security Council finally designated Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
In the year 2018, 14 out of 15 members of the Security Council, including Saudi Arabia, supported putting Masood Azhar under the UN sanctions list. China, being a permanent member of the UN Security Council and having the power to prevent the adoption of a functional draft council resolution, regardless of an otherwise undisputed international support, blocked it.
On international platforms, China reiterates its commitment to fighting terrorism. Still, keeping India preoccupied, with necessitating it to deal with terrorism and its repercussions, is in China’s interest. China looks at India as a budding challenger for strategic and fiscal leadership in Asia and is committed to suppressing those ambitions. And from what I can understand, covertly supporting terrorism and insurgency in India is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this task.
Ever since the beginning of the U.S. war on terrorism, Chinese diplomacy has regularly criticised the international community’s armed response to Islamist terrorism. An account by the European Council On Foreign Relations explains how China has rejected participation in huge transnational military coalitions in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State. Nationalistic media of China has not only condemned the U.S. combat on terrorism but allegedly, intermittently even endorsed a narrative that holds the West responsible for Islamist terrorism, blaming extreme Western military intervention in the region for the eruption of terrorist attacks worldwide.
From what can be inferred, China uses Pakistan to counter the power of India in the region, while Pakistan gets access to civilian and military resources to balance Indian strength in the sub-continent.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to arrive in Chennai on Friday afternoon this week for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuram. However, for now, it is uncertain whether Prime Minister Modi will discuss the Kashmir issue with Jinping or not, as the informal summit will not have an agenda.