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China offers to help improve India-Pakistan ties, silent on Amarnath attack

China on Wednesday offered to play a “constructive role” to improve India-Pakistan relations but remained silent on the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir that claimed seven lives.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2017 15:10 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India-China relations,Sikkim standoff,India-Pakistan relations
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif walks past Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.(AFP File Photo)

China on Wednesday highlighted the “conflict” in Kashmir and offered to play a “constructive role” in improving India-Pakistan ties even as it maintained silence on the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims that claimed seven lives.

“The situation in Kashmir has attracted the attention of the international community,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.

The “conflict” near the Line of Control (LoC) would not only impact the “peace and tranquillity” of India and Pakistan, but also affect the region, he said.

“Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia,” Geng said. “China was willing to play a constructive role in improving relations between India and Pakistan.”

Geng was responding to a question from a Pakistani journalist about the situation along the LoC and the role Beijing could play in resolving differences between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Neither the spokesperson nor the Chinese government formally condemned the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir on Monday.

The investigation into the incident has just begun but India authorities suspect the involvement of Pakistan-based Laskar-e-Taiba, a group banned by the US and the UN.

Key Western powers and most countries in India’s neighbourhood have condemned the attack, describing it as heinous and against humanity. China is the only major power and neighbour to remain silent on it.

Relations between China and India have hit a fresh low because of a military standoff in the Sikkim sector. Indian troops acted in coordination with the Bhutan government to oppose the construction of a road by Chinese troops in the Donglang or Doklam region claimed by Thimphu.

Both sides have deployed more troops in the sector due to the three-week-old standoff. China has demanded that India withdraw its troops from the area as a pre-condition for meaningful dialogue.

When Geng was asked to comment on foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s remarks that India and China have handled such differences in the past, he replied that the incident in the Sikkim sector was “different in nature”.

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 14:50 IST