Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Jul 2017 10:46:55

HAVING clandestinely made its base in what is essentially an Indian territory, illegally occupied by Pakistan in PoK, China has the impertinence to offer mediation between India and Pakistan to resolve disputes between the two countries. The first thing that China needs to do forthwith is to stop its infrastructure project on the Gadar port. That should be the first step towards vacation of Indian territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan in Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) and illegal activities by China there. But such a thing is unlikely to happen, at least not in the near future, given China’s expansionist mindset and its geopolitical ambition of flaunting itself as a global power. It is under this premise of superiority of a big brother that China has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, although China must be fully aware that India is unlikely to accept such misplaced offer as India has consistently rejected any third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.

India has always preferred to settle all disputes with its neighbours, including with Pakistan and even China, through diplomatic channels. But both China and Pakistan have chosen to resort to arm-twisting to get India to agree to their aggressive intents on territorial matters. Having tasted humiliating mauling in open wars with India, including its dismemberment, Pakistan now has chosen the easier and a less costly option of using terror groups to inflict thousand cuts on India. China, on the other hand, is using its new-found economic and military power to browbeat India, including issuing threat of war. But India has aptly responsed to the provocative Chinese overtures on the Bhutan border and has made it known that it was well prepared to meet such threats. The message is clear -- it would be imprudent to mess up with modern day India and the country would not be cowed down by such aggrssion.

In fact, having pitched its tent on Pakistan’s side, China has lost moral authority to be an independent arbitrator in any dispute between India and Pakistan. Especially, its hostile actions in recent weeks against India, both at bilateral level and at multilateral fora, have raised doubts in India whether China could be depended upon as a trustworthy neighbour or even a business partner. China has shown on a number of occasions that it was willing to go to any length to protect Pakistani interests at multilateral fora, be it the declaration of Azhar Mehmood as the global terrorist or India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

India has always welcomed maximum use of diplomatic channels existing with China and even Pakistan to sort out differences and outstanding issues. The Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and is best resolved through bilateral negotiations. In the past, several countries, including the United States, had offered to use their good offices with Pakistan to resolve the dispute on Kashmir. However, India has been firm in its conviction that the matter must be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan, though it has been Pakistan’s efforts to some how internationalise the Kashmir issue.

On the Doklam tri-junction stand-off with China, it was China that tried to muscle its way through the Bhutanese territory and India only reacted to this Chinese bid to grab another country’s land illegally. In spite of this India has shown willingness to discuss the matter with China at diplomatic level. India has rightly made it known to China that India was under obligation to safeguard the territorial integrity of Bhutan mandated through a very old, historical agreement between the two countries.