China has renewed offer to play a “constructive role” to ease tensions between India and Pakistan following the change of guard in Islamabad, latest reports said on Friday.
“We welcome the positive remarks made by the Indian and Pakistani leaders on improving their bilateral relations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said during his regular media briefing in Beijing.
Lu was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reported remarks seeking “meaningful and constructive engagement” with Pakistan, in a letter to Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister, Imran Khan. In tweets in English and Urdu, Khan, in turn, has proposed that, “To move forward, Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts, including Kashmir.” The spokesperson specifically cited China’s concerns regarding “regional” security, in its offer to play a role in the India-Pakistan equation.
“Both Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia. The improvement and development of their relations are quite important to the regional peace and stability and prosperity,” Lu said. He hoped that New Delhi and Islamabad “can jointly stay committed to the regional peace and development”. He said, “China is willing to play a constructive role in this aspect.” The spokesman, however, in response to supplementary questions, declined to characterise Beijing’s proposal as an offer for “mediation” between India and Pakistan.
“I just now said we are glad to see the positive remarks by India and Pakistan on improving their bilateral relations and all the efforts that are conducive to the improvement of their relations and peace and stability in the region. We welcome that and we will [play a] constructive role in this aspect.” Lu declined to be drawn into the exact nature of Beijing’s role, asserting that he could not “give a pre-judgment” on this topic.
China has, in the past, pointed to bilateral talks between India and Pakistan as the basis of resolving the Kashmir issue. Lu also did not appear to change the basic template of bilateralism. “As a common neighbour of Pakistan and India, China firmly supports two sides to enhance dialogue and increase mutual trust and properly handle and solve their differences.” China has been visibly emphatic in its advocacy for the resolution of India-Pak differences since the June summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), where New Delhi and Islamabad were welcomed as full members of the grouping.