NEW DELHI: China has also begun to interfere in the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, complicating the situation in the state that is battling terrorism fanned by outside forces, CM Mehbooba Mufti has said. “The outside forces are part of this and unfortunately now China has also begun to interfere (cheen ne bhi haath dalna shuru kiya hai),” Mehbooba said here on Saturday after a meeting with home minister Rajnath Singh.
The statement is being seen as a comment on Beijing’s close ties with Islamabad and its repeated blocking of India’s efforts at multilateral forums to get a global ban placed on Pakistan-based terrorists like Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
The reference is also being seen in the context of China raising the Kashmir issue in the light of the current stand off between Indian and Chinese troops near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction. The statement was a fairly direct threat that India could face heat on the western flank and this was followed by an unsolicited offer to mediate in the dispute with Pakistan.
According to sources, the issue relating to China’s alleged meddling in Jammu & Kashmir affairs did not come up during the CM’s half-an-hour discussion with the home minister. The meeting focused on reviewing the security situation in light of the July 20 attack on Amarnath pilgrims, apart from discussing additional security measures taken to keep the remaining part of the yatra incident-free.
“While the China interference issue did not figure at the Mehbooba-Rajnath meeting, she may have chosen to air her concerns outside about Beijing’s sustained support and involvement with Pakistan despite the latter’s role in sponsoring cross-border terrorism and creating unrest in Kashmir,” an officer of the central security establishment told TOI. Mehbooba said Amarnath pilgrims were targeted to instigate communal riots across the country.
The CM is said to have thanked Singh for his ‘mature’ reaction hailing ‘Kashmiriyat’, saying it had helped soothe frayed nerves after the Amarnath attack and prevented a communal backlash. She is also believed to have appreciated the condemnation of the incident by all shades of opinion in Jammu & Kashmir.
Mehbooba informed Singh of the additional security measures put in place, including more optimal utilisation of 20,400 central para-military personnel for the yatra.