China emerges as a factor in the Kashmir issue

Srinagar: The recent statement by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that China was “trying to meddle into” Kashmir issue has created furor among the political circles here. The Chief Minister had told media in New Delhi (July 15) after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh that "Kashmir issue is not a law and order problem. It is happening because of external forces. The ongoing fight is a handiwork of external forces and now unfortunately China is also trying to meddle into it.”

China had on July 12 said it was ready to play a “constructive role” in improving India-Pakistan ties over Kashmir, where the “situation has attracted the attention of the international community”. However, India rebuffed Beijing’s offer, saying, “We are ready to talk Kashmir with Pakistan, but no third party mediation.”

Omar Abdullah, working president of National Conference, the main opposition party, after casting his vote for presidential election at the Assembly complex here on July 17 said that the Chief Minister needed to explain the involvement of Chinain the worsening security situation in the Kashmir valley. He said during his six-year term as Chief Minister, he was never given any intelligence reports about Chinese meddling in Kashmir other than of occasional incursion in parts of Ladakh region in the state.

“Kashmir is becoming a flash point and its disputed nature is spreading beyond limits,” said Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani in a statement here on July 16, addingthat the delay in Kashmir resolution can lead to more dangerous situation. “China is emerging as a major alternate power against West and since the borders of these countries are adjoining, hence China cannot remain neutral in the stressful situation between the two countries,” he said.Geelani said that prevailing situation and emerging phenomenon demands immediate attention and consideration from both India and Pakistan. He urged the two countries to think above rhetoric and take considerable and tangible steps for a lasting solution of the Kashmir issue. “The growing interest of China can change the discourse and Kashmir issue can take a new turn,” said Geelani, adding that the possibility of Jammu and Kashmir becoming a battle field cannot be ruled out.

Geelani had earlier said that dialogue is the only option for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute.“War is neither an option nor a solution to Kashmir dispute,” said Geelani, here on July 15, while hailing the statement of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in which the latter had stressed on a peaceful solution of Kashmir issue through dialogue.

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