International Nation

Sovereignty should be respected, China tells Pakistan

NEW DELHI: China, a strategic ally of Pakistan, have commented that it does not wish to see “actions that violate norms of international relations” — a comment that’s seen as critical about the escalation of hostilities between New Delhi and Islamabad. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had dialled his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last night – his second in two days. During the day, China and Russia had been updated about the situation by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the Russia, India, China Foreign Ministers meeting in the Chinese city of Wuzhen.

The Pakistan Air Force had tried to target Indian military installations yesterday – a day after Indian fighter jets had crossed the Line of Control and carried out a pre-dawn strike on a terror camp of Jaish-e Mohammad in Balakot. The Pakistan-based terror group had carried out the suicide bombing in Pulwama on February 14. In yesterday’s dogfight, India had shot down an F-16 jet and Pakistan had captured an IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today declared that he will be released tomorrow as a “gesture of peace”.

Mr Yi had told Mr Qureshi that “Sovereignty should be respected. China doesn’t want to see actions that violate the norms of international relations”, the Chinese foreign ministry later said.

Yesterday, Ms Swaraj had told her counterparts from China and Russia that “India does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint.”

“The limited objective of the pre-emptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the JeM in order to pre-empt another terrorist attack in India,” she had said.

China has indicated that it would like to help resolve the situation.

“On the recent incident in the disputed territory between India and Pakistan, we appreciate the restraint of our friends from India and Pakistan and the avoidance of escalation to another level, as the mutual friend of both India and Pakistan, we would like to, through mutual dialogue, find out the truth, and manage the situation and resolve the problem,” Mr Yi said.

China has come under international scrutiny as the US, UK and France – all veto-wielding members — have moved a fresh proposal at the United Nations Security Council or UNSC to name Jaish chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist. The fresh proposal will also have Russia’s backing as Moscow earlier supported the ban on Masood Azhar.

China — which has been nurturing the strategic partnership with Pakistan with multiple mega infrastructure projects — had blocked all such earlier efforts.

But lately, Pakistan has been trying to pull away from some of the projects, fearing it would push the cash-strapped nation into bigger debt traps.