File image of PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping
File image of PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping | Wikimedia Commons
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New Delhi: China’s demand that India restore the pre-August 5 status quo in Kashmir is a reflection that not all is well between both neighbours as Beijing fumes over recent developments in the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (or the Quad) even as it pushes India to rollout Huawei’s 5G network.

Speaking after Prime Minister Imran Khan at the UN General Assembly Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also joined him in raising the Kashmir issue and stated that “no actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken”.

This comes just weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s so-called informal summit, which is seen as a sequel to the Wuhan talks that took place in China last year.

Sources told ThePrint that China is upping the ante on Kashmir as it wants to build up a case for its technology giant Huawei, which is keenly looking at India to rollout its 5G network.

Also read: Tension rises between China, India over Ladakh ahead of Modi-Xi October talks

India responds strongly

While India has responded to the Chinese statement in strong words calling Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh an “integral part” and that abrogation of Article 370 is an entirely internal matter, New Delhi is well aware of the fact the its recent move in joining the first ministerial-level meeting of the Quad along with Australia, Japan and the U.S. has come as another setback for Beijing.  

“Wang Yi is essentially repeating the original Chinese position. It’s already impacted the upcoming (informal) talks and it’s not the only thing — the recent meeting of the Quad at Foreign Minister’s level, too, has,” stated China expert Jabin T. Jacob, associate professor, department of international relations and governance studies at Shiv Nadar University.  

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Both foreign minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart had a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The informal summit is expected to take place around 11-13 October in India.

Also read: Modi govt pushing for liberal arts should first learn from China on what not to do

‘China pushing the envelope’

“China is pushing the envelope higher. These are just posturing before the talks. This is a clear bargaining chip,” said Phunchok Stobdan, founding president of the Ladakh International Centre, Leh, and now senior fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

Stobdan, who was India’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, added, “At the same time India should stop talking on CPEC and be more aggressive in talking about China’s illegal occupation of Shaksgam Valley, or Aksai Chin in the Jammu and Kashmir and also in Ladakh.

“We should know that with this new situation China has become a party to it whether we like it to not. Kashmir is just a sideshow, for China the crux of all with India right now is 5G.”

Reacting to the statement made by Chinese Foreign Minister, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said China should “desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan occupied Kashmir”.

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