India Urges China To Stop Projects In Pakistan Kashmir

14 October 2009

New Delhi: India urged China on Wednesday to stop building projects inside the Pakistan-ruled part of the disputed Kashmir region, the latest salvo prompted by a decades-long border dispute between the Asian giants. The sharp exchanges between the two sides underline the fragility of their relations despite a warming of ties in recent years, primarily on the back of burgeoning trade. The two sides fought a brief but bloody war in 1962. 'We hope that the Chinese side will take a long-term view of the India-China relations, and cease such activities in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan,' an Indian foreign ministry statement said. India was reacting to a comment by Chinese President Hu Jintao reported by the official new agency Xinhua that China was 'glad' to carry on the Pakistani projects. It came a day after Beijing said it was 'seriously dissatisfied' at a visit by India's prime minister to the disputed Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh that is controlled by India but claimed by China. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to the mountainous state, twice the size of Switzerland, earlier this month to woo voters ahead of a state assembly election. Both countries jostle for resources and influence as they seek a global role. India has several anti-dumping cases against China pending with the WTO. There has been a flurry of reports in Indian media of Chinese incursions along the border - shrugged off by both governments - and India this month protested against a Chinese embassy policy of issuing different visas to residents of Kashmir. Beijing lays claim to 90,000 sq km (34,750 sq mile) of land in Arunachal Pradesh, and had already expressed its anger about a planned visit by the Dalai Lama in November. New Delhi sees Beijing as backing Pakistan and says Chinese involvement in Pakistan-held Kashmir was to undermine India. India holds 45 percent of the disputed Himalayan region while Pakistan controls a third. China holds the remainder of Kashmir. India and Pakistan, which claim Kashmir in full, have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. 'The Chinese side is fully aware of India's position and our concerns about Chinese activities in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,' the Indian statement said. China is helping build a hydro-electric power plant and highways in Pakistan-ruled Kashmir. New Delhi also expressed concern on Wednesday over increased incursions by Pakistan-based militants into Indian Kashmir that has led to sudden spurt of separatist violence in the region.