BEIJING: Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi talked on Friday about close links between China and India, like the “Yangtze and Ganges”, but made it clear that “iron brother” Pakistan would continue to be a special ally for China.
Wang also caused mild surprise by indicating that China had mediated to resolve the tensions between India and Pakistan. This claim does not fit into India’s usual refusal to allow any country to mediate in this conflict. On the other hand, Pakistan has been keen to invite a third party to mediate.
China has all along advised both countries to exercise restraint, prevent an escalation and resolve their differences through dialogue, he said.
“In the meantime, the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should fully respected. China followed these principles in its mediation and played a constructive role in defusing the tension,” he said.
Wang’s statements are crucial because they indicate what China has been telling other countries during diplomatic interactions with other countries. Indian diplomats are trying to explain that Pakistan is the aggressor using terrorists against India.
“China will work with India to comprehensively strengthen sectoral cooperation and people-to-people ties which are of vital importance in the current context so that our friendship and cooperation will forge ahead like the Yangtze and Ganges, giving strong and sustained impetus to our relationship,” he said.
He did not mention the crux of India’s complaint, which is cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and resulting in a military conflict between the two countries.
“China hopes Pakistan and India will transform the crisis into opportunity and meet each other halfway,” Wang said.
He expressed faith in the efficacy of the “Wuhan spirit” of bonhomie during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan last year.
“The historic meeting between Xi and Modi at Wuhan has created a new model of high-level interactions between our two countries, deepened the trust between our leaders and set the direction for our future relations,” Wang said.
Indian observers have of late begun questioning the value of the “Wuhan spirit” because they feel China is extending indirect support to Pakistan in the conflict by refusing to get Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, declared a global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council.