India warns China to stay out of Kashmir dispute as crisis intensifies

Saptarshi Ray
Kashmiri men wait before Eid-al-Adha prayers in Srinagar - REUTERS

India has issued a warning to China to stay out of the dispute over Kashmir’s status, after Pakistan said it would take the issue to the United Nations Security Council with the support of Beijing.

The remarks by the Indian foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, came after his Pakistani counterpart visited China in a bid to seek allies for a UN resolution against New Delhi for revoking Kashmir's autonomy.

Mr Jaishankar flew to Beijing himself to meet China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, saying at the talks that "the two nations should ensure that it was important that differences between us, if any, should not become disputes".

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement later that it had taken a “principled” stand on “unilateral” actions by India, and had urged New Delhi to play a constructive role in regional peace and stability.

But India's Ministry of External Affairs bluntly said decisions on Kashmir were "an internal matter concerning the territory of India".

"India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise," the ministry added.

China has described India's revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, in place since Partition in 1947, as "unacceptable" and a threat to its territorial sovereignty. As well as the dispute between India and Pakistan, China also claims a strip of Kashmir, Aksai Chin.

Following Friday's meeting between Mr Wang and the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Chinese diplomat expressed grave concern about the situation in Kashmir, the cause of two wars between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Mr Wang had assured Mr Qureshi that Beijing would continue to support Pakistan to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, his ministry said in a statement.

Kashmir itself on Monday remained under a communications blackout and a police curfew, with information still difficult to come by or verify.

The Indian government said it was easing restrictions yesterday, and that the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha had been observed largely peacefully.

It also condemned as "irresponsible" a series of tweets by Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, which likened the Indian government to “Nazis” and “fascists”.

The row spilled over into a Los Angeles beauty event, where former Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was accused of "encouraging nuclear war" over an Instagram caption in which she wrote "Jai Hind", meaning "victory to India" and included the hashtag #IndianArmedForces.

Referring to the post from February, an audience member at a beauty panel told Chopra: "You are a Unicef ambassador for peace and you're encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan. There's no winner in this."

Chopra said: "War is not something that I'm really fond of, but I am patriotic." 

The woman, who named herself on Twitter as Ayesha Malik, was handed the microphone during the Q&A portion of a BeautyCon panel featuring Chopra.

The exchange was caught on camera. Ms Malik said: "It was kind of hard hearing you talk about humanity, because as your neighbour, a Pakistani, I know you're a bit of a hypocrite."

The actress, a Unicef ambassador, was accused of fuelling tensions with a tweet backing Indian armed forces and exclaiming "Jai Hind" (Victory to India) Credit: John Sciulli/Getty 

Ms Malik added: "As a Pakistani, millions of people like me have supported you in your business of Bollywood."

Staff then grabbed the microphone away. Chopra, who is married to US pop star Nick Jonas, replied: "I hear you. Whenever you're done venting. Got it? Done? Okay, cool."

The 37-year-old said "war is not something that I'm really fond of, but I am patriotic", adding "but I think that all of us have a sort of middle ground that we all have to walk".

She added: "The way you came at me right now, girl, don't yell. We're all here for love. Don't yell. Don't embarrass yourself."