China may be returning to "reflexively supporting Pakistan on Kashmir," bringing a shift in its "neutral" stand demonstrated during Kargil conflict in 1999 .
To counter Beijing's growing influence in the region, an American think tank has asked the US government to "continue to build strong strategic ties to India and encourage India to play a more active political and economic role in the region..
It is a first major observation by the American think- tank after the recent reports in which Jammu and Kashmir figured prominently in the diction of Indo-China relations.
“To help India fulfill that role, Washington should continue to seek a robust military-to-military relationship with New Delhi and enhance defense trade ties.," said the Heritage Foundation, a Washington D C based conservative think tank in its latest report : "China's Indian Provocations Part of Broader Trend". The report was released on Thursday.
Dwelling against the backdrop of the reports of presence of 7,000 to 11,000 Chinese troops in Northern Areas of Pakistan , Gilgit – Baltistan, and Beijing's denial of visa to Northern Command chief of the Indian Army Lt. Gen. B S Jaswal ,who commands troops in Jammu and Kashmir ,the report makes a forceful plea to the Obama administration to: “Collaborate more closely with India on initiatives that strengthen economic development and democratic trends in the region and work with India to counter any Chinese moves that could potentially undermine such trends in order to ensure the peaceful, democratic development of South Asia.
The report written by Dean Cheng and Lisa Curtis, experts on China and South Asia respectively , also suggested that Washington should "cooperate with India respectively in matching increased Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region. Given the substantial Indian naval capabilities, U.S. naval forces should increase their interaction with their Indian counterparts, both to improve Indian naval capabilities and to signal Beijing."
The two experts have also taken note of Beijing's observations about the state, claiming parts with Pakistan as Pakistan's Northern Areas, while the part with India as "Indian controlled Kashmir" .
Beijing's latest stand on J&K is a shift in its position adopted during Kargil conflict in 1999, when it had persuaded Islamabad to withdraw its troops from the Indian side of the Line of Control.It is a reference to then Beijing position that Pakistan should "respect sanctity of the LoC" .
"China may be returning to a position of reflexively supporting Pakistan on Kashmir. Since the 1999 Kargil border conflict between India and Pakistan, Beijing's position on Kashmir seemed to be evolving toward a more neutral position," the report said .
" During that conflict, Beijing helped convince Pakistan to withdraw forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control following its incursion into the Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir. Beijing made clear its position that the two sides should resolve the Kashmir conflict through bilateral negotiations, not military force."
After 1962 war between the two countries , fresh border tensions on Sino-India borders, now called LAC or Line of Actual Control in 2008- 2009 when Chinese troops intruded into the Indian side. India had responded with increasing its military presence as also building more infrastructure along the LAC.