India needs 3rd-party mediation on Kashmir conflict

By Li Qingqing (Global Times, 30 July 2019) – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Friday expressed China’s support for the international community, including the US, to play a constructive role in improving India-Pakistan relations. China made the statement after US President Donald Trump’s offer on July 22 to mediate between India and Pakistan on the decades-long Kashmir conflict.

In addition, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also welcomed Trump’s offer, saying that it was “more than Pakistan’s expectations.” However, India has always been opposing third-party mediation. New Delhi insists that the conflict can only be resolved through direct talks with Islamabad. India should understand this: The international community is offering to mediate because India has made few attempts and achievements on the Kashmir conflict, and peace in Kashmir is important to global stability.

The US is not the first country to offer to mediate. Former South African president Nelson Mandela and incumbent Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg used to offer third-party mediation. But India has shut out all countries’ offers, which has escalated tensions in Kashmir.

Perhaps India should try to understand why the international community generally supports improving India-Pakistan relations through peaceful negotiations. That’s because during the more than 70 years of disputes, the two countries have always lacked an effective channel of negotiation. Clashes have erupted along the Line of Control, which had cost many innocent people’s lives.

Under such circumstances, China has always supported international mediation because the peace and stability of South Asia is of great importance. If the India-Pakistan disputes lead to war or even a nuclear confrontation, then the two peoples will become innocent victims. China’s national strategy and interests will be seriously harmed as well. For example, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will face severe challenges in South Asia if the region suffers from war. China supports all countries, including the US, that sincerely aim at promoting peaceful negotiations between India and Pakistan, because this is also in line with China’s own interests.

China will always respect India’s choice whether to accept international mediation or not. However, India should not deliberately ignore the international community’s attention and will. India is a major country in the region. And if India and Pakistan can resolve the Kashmir conflict properly and peacefully, India’s national image will be greatly enhanced, and its long-term stability and development will also benefit.

The over 70 years of disputes between India and Pakistan was something left by British colonization. How India and Pakistan resolve the issue can help developing countries find a peaceful way to completely get rid of colonialism.

India should work harder to break the deadlock. Since Pakistan and India are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the SCO can provide a good platform for a regional solution. The most important thing is India and Pakistan’s will and wisdom to seek a resolution to the conflict through political negotiations. Only in this way can South Asia’s peace and stability, as well as the interests of countries concerned, be guaranteed. New Delhi should not act against the will of international community.

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