‘Indian media playing into U.S. hands by stirring tensions between India, China’

February 26, 2019

TEHRAN - The heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of recent terror attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir are increasingly becoming a threat to regional peace and stability.

Many regional countries have urged the two South Asian nuclear powers to scale down the war rhetoric and resolve the contentious issues through dialogue and talks.

China, which shares border with both the countries, has also joined the growing chorus, warning about the consequences of any military adventure on part of the two warring countries.

Although Beijing is seen close to Islamabad due to the massive China-Pakistan economic project currently underway, it has urged both New Delhi and Islamabad to avoid any military confrontation.

The deadly attack in southern Kashmir less than two weeks ago, which killed 44 members of India’s paramilitary police force, was claimed by Jaish e Mohammad (JeM), which is allegedly based in Pakistan.

Following the attack, India vowed a ‘befitting reply’ and said it will take all possible measures to ‘diplomatically isolate Pakistan’.

Over the past one week, Indian media has been replete with reports about preparations for a small-scale war. The situation in the disputed Kashmir region, which is sandwiched between the two South Asian giants, continues to be tense.

It has also reported about China’s tilt towards Pakistan because of its own scores to settle with India.

Azhar is based in Pakistan and Islamabad has refused India’s demands to extradite him. China, reports in Indian media said, has blocked India’s moves to have him designated a ‘global terrorist’ at the United Nations Security Council.

A report in Global Times, which reflects views of the Chinese government, alleged that the Indian media was “playing into the hands of the U.S. and creating tensions between India and China” in the aftermath of Kashmir attack even as the Indian government maintained strategic autonomy in its foreign policy.

The report blasted the Western media, which it alleged used the Kashmir attack to affect China’s relations with India and shift the focus from the attack itself to China.

“The United Nations has a strict set of procedures for listing terrorist organizations and individuals. India’s requirements can be understood, but India cannot be arbitrary,” the report said.

“In fact, the ‘East Turkistan Islamic Movement’ (ETIM) in China’s Xinjiang has also been listed on the UN 1267 Committee’s list of terrorist groups. China has also asked for some specific people to be listed but it cannot happen according to one’s own wishes,” said the report, translated into English.

Commenting on the escalating situation, China’s state-run daily Sina International, which also reflects the views of the government in Beijing, said the Kashmir attack “pushed lukewarm India-Pakistan ties to a new low”, leading to “tensions in South Asia” after the Wuhan Summit between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “helped stabilise the situation”.

“In response to this attack India wants to expand its influence. The Indian government said it had irrefutable evidence that Pakistan was involved in the attack. This can be serious. It accuses a country of participating in such an attack,” said the report.

The report said the upcoming general elections in India had forced the Modi government to adopt a tough stance on the attack. “Modi is trying every way to get re-elected. In this case, he is likely to choose a radical approach,” it said.

Any action against Jaish e Mohammad, the report stressed, will be very difficult in the absence of mutual trust between India and Pakistan.

“However, Western countries such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Australia all stood by the Indian side. Obviously, the West wants to pick up the India-Pakistan conflict and create something around China,” it noted.

“In response to this situation, if India makes a big fuss and launch a large-scale military operation in Kashmir, then the military conflict between India and Pakistan will reach its peak. How the situation evolves depends on the attitude of India and the political goals the Modi government wants to achieve,” the report further added.

However, the report said it will not have much bearing on India-China relations and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) if the situation subsides after the initial tensions.

“China will continue to pay attention to the tension in South Asia caused by this attack. China hopes that India can make wise choices,” it said.

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