(TibetanReview.net, May20’23) – In support of its all-weather friend Pakistan, China said May 19 that it was opposed to a G20 tourism meeting being hosted next week by India in Kashmir and will not attend it. Pakistan disputes the sovereign status of Kashmir, part of which it occupies and is claimed by India. China is itself in occupation of a large chunk of the Indian territory of Ladakh, which happened after it invaded and occupied Tibet in the 1950’s.
India, which assumed the chair of the G20 for one year on Dec 1, 2022, has been organizing a series of thematic meetings across the country in the run-up to the summit in New Delhi in September.
“China is firmly opposed to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory, and will not attend such meetings,” Reuters May 19 quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin as saying.
In 2019, India split the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir to create the two federally administered Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Pakistan cried foul and China raised its voice in support of Islamabad, accusing New Delhi of taking unilateral action on a disputed territory.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, will host a meeting of the tourism working group for G20 members over May 22-24.
“The main event will be held at SKICC on May 22 and 23. We are expecting more than 100 delegates of the G20 states and guest countries,” livemint.com May 19 quoted a senior officer at Sher-e-Kashmir International Conventional Centre (SKICC) as saying.
India has dismissed the objections raised by Pakistan and said G20 events are organized in all states and union territories of India.
Earlier, China had skipped the two-day Youth-20 Summit meeting at Ladakh’s capital Leh from Apr 26, as well as the one immediately before in March at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, a region Beijing claims as its own as part of Southern Tibet, in the enduring bilateral territorial dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbours, noted thewire.in May 19.
Pakistan – not a G20 member – had slammed India for holding the Srinagar G20 meet. Responding to a question on this during the Shanghai Cooperation Group meet in Goa earlier in May, Pakistani foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari declared that Islamabad would give a “response which would be remembered”, the report said.
Ties between India and China have been strained since a military clash in Ladakh in 2020 in which 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers were killed. The two sides have been periodically holding meetings to defuse the crisis at the border but a lasting solution has eluded them so far.
India has made it clear that peace and tranquility on the border is essential for normal ties with China. The latter insists, however, that the border situation need not affect overall ties.
Meanwhile, responding to questions over the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said May 19 that India was fully prepared and committed to protecting its sovereignty and dignity. Speaking in an interview with the Japanese publication Nikkei Asia, he has asserted that the future development of the India-China relationship can only be based on mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests.