India Warns China About J&K Posture3 September 2010
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: India on Friday 'conveyed its concerns' to China over Chinese 'activity and presence' in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. India's ambassador to China S. Jaishankar conveyed New Delhi's concerns over the reported presence of as many as 11,000 Chinese soldiers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in a meeting with vice-minister for foreign affairs Zhang Zhijun in Beijing, said an official source. The 90-minute meeting with Zhang was held a day after Jaishankar returned from New Delhi where he briefed the cabinet committee on security, on relations with China. Zhang is said to have responded that the Chinese presence in the region is only for flood-relief assistance. New Delhi says it is verifying the reports - denied by Beijing as 'groundless'. During the meeting with Zhang, who is of equivalent rank of a foreign secretary, India raised a range of bilateral issues. India also reportedly conveyed concerns over the characterisation of Gilgit-Baltistan as 'northern Pakistan' in the government-run Chinese media this week. MEA sources in New Delhi questioned the rationale of such moves when the stated Chinese position is that Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan. But they said 'divergence” on one issue should not overlook convergence on other issues. Beijing's denial of visa to Lt Gen B.S. Jaiswal was also discussed with Zhang. On Thursday, the Chinese foreign ministry denied there is a visa controversy. But also said its visa policy for the residents of 'India-controlled Kashmir' remains unchanged, implying it will continue to issue them stapled visas. Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said 'it makes no sense' for China to question Jaiswal jurisdiction over Kashmir and also say it wants to talk with India about a border dispute which includes Kashmir. 'China is hinting we are not a legitimate interlocutor, that there cannot be a border settlement until Kashmir is solved first.' 'By entrenching themselves in PoK and the Northern Areas, the Chinese become an unavoidable factor in this area,' he warned. This will make Kashmir an even more intractable problem.