India and Pakistan scramble jets as China watches uneasily

Foreign Affairs

The situation is not good in disputed Kashmir, and the strain is being felt in Beijing. The Chinese foreign ministry “called on New Delhi and Islamabad to ‘exercise restraint’ and avoid further provocations,” according to the South China Morning Post. A separate article from the SCMP has a headline with a question: “Will terrorist tensions in Kashmir drive India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear war?” The anxiety in that headline is not unjustified.

The latest report from Kashmir as I write this: “Pakistan captures Indian pilot after shooting down aircraft, escalating hostilities” in the Washington Post.

Here are some of the other relevant connections to China:

China has consistently blocked India’s efforts to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist since 2016… The Pulwama terrorist attack and the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN is expected to figure prominently at Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting being held in China.

  • The communiqué issued by the ministers after the meeting condemns terrorism in general terms but does not mention Jaish-e-Mohammad or Masood Azhar. You can download the English comminqué here.
  • The Indian foreign minister raised the Kashmir terrorist attacks with her Chinese counterpart while in China, according to the Times of India.
  • New Delhi needs to increase the costs for China,” says the Hindustan Times, “to get China on board for designating Masood Azhar in the UN.” This is just one example of an Indian media report that notes China’s support of Pakistan’s stance on Jaish-e-Mohammad.
  • The Economic Times of India today reports on another headache for Beijing in South Asia, not currently related to Kashmir:

Balochistan: China’s Achilles heel 

Balochistan is crucial to the success of the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), but the restive province through which the initiative passes poses a stiff challenge to China as Baloch nationalists are up in arms against what they see as Beijing’s designs to exploit the area.