Wang Yi (right) and Shah Mahmood Qureshi address a joint press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. Associated Press
BEIJING: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday of the “rapidly deteriorating situation” and rights violations in Kashmir, and called for India to look again at its policies there.
India launched an air strike on an alleged militant camp inside Pakistan last month following an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in disputed Kashmir.
The Feb.14 attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police was the deadliest in Kashmir’s 30-year-long insurgency, escalating tension between the neighbours, and the subsequent air strike had heightened fears that nuclear-armed India and Pakistan could slide into a fourth war.
Speaking in Beijing standing alongside the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, Qureshi said his country appreciated the role China played once again “in standing by Pakistan in these difficult times.”
“I also briefed the foreign minister on the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Indian side of Kashmir, intensification of human rights violations, especially after Pulwama,” he said, referring to where the attack took place.
“This is a concern because that leads to a reaction and that reaction at times creates tensions in the region which must be avoided,” Qureshi added.
“I think there’s a need for a new assessment on how the situation on the Indian side of Kashmir should be handled by the Indians. There are now voices within India that are questioning the efficacy of the policy that they’ve followed for the last so many years,” he said, without elaborating.
Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister, said China has always believed that peace and stability in South Asia is in the joint interests of countries in the region and is what the international community wishes.
“China appreciates Pakistan’s constructive efforts to ease the situation and calls on Pakistan and India to continue to exercise restraint and resolve the differences that exist via dialogue and peaceful means.”
The sparring after the Pulwama attack had threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by US officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events have said.