A Chinese state-run tabloid has refused to carry the Indian embassy’s response to an interview of the Pakistani ambassador to China, who repeated Islamabad’s “lies and half-truths” about Jammu & Kashmir. In a tweet, the embassy said Global Times’ declined to carry the response.
After the refusal, the Indian embassy on Thursday tweeted its rejoinder to Pakistani envoy Moin ul Haque’s interview, which was published with the headline “Urgent actions on Jammu, Kashmir needed” last week, two days after the first anniversary of the scrapping of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status. The two-page rejoinder called out unsubstantiated allegations by Haque and described Pakistan’s Kashmir policy as a “campaign of cross-border terrorism”.
Haque was slated to be sent as the high commissioner to India but never took up the post because of fraught bilateral ties.
Global Times, which is affiliated to the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily, did not give a reason for not carrying it.
The Indian embassy approached the tabloid to share its views on Kashmir but was told Global Times would not run it. This was after the tabloid had asked for – and received – the key points in India’s response.
The state-run media’s refusal to carry New Delhi’s views on a sensitive issue is in contrast to Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong’s wide access to media in India. His articles have been carried by mainstream newspapers, including HT. He has also been interviewed by Press Trust of India, India’s largest news wire, on the India-China border standoff.
There is a growing feeling within the external affairs ministry that China’s state-run media have not been giving any space to the views of Indian officials, especially after the standoff began in May.
“The Chinese ambassador in India gets adequate coverage in the Indian media whenever he issues a statement or makes a speech. Can the Indian ambassador in Beijing or any other official expect the same sort of exposure in the Chinese media? It just won’t happen,” said a person familiar with the developments who declined to be named.
People familiar with the developments said it appeared China’s media, which is tightly controlled by the state, is being told not to carry anything that goes against the official line, and this includes the views of Indian officials.
China and Pakistan are “all-weather allies” and have close military ties.
“India’s concerted efforts to bring peace, stability, and progress to J&K stand in stark contrast to Pakistan’s strategy, which is little more than a blatant and rapacious campaign of cross-border terrorism aimed at debilitating the region,” the embassy said.
“Its unprovoked ceasefire violations, numbering close to 3,000 in the first seven months of 2020 alone, provide support for terrorist infiltration along the India-Pakistan Line of Control (LOC).”
The Indian embassy pointed out terrorists trained and armed by Pakistan have disturbed peace and order in Kashmir, with more than 450 incidents of terrorist orchestrated violence since August 2019 that have caused civilian casualties.
“And it is in fact Pakistan that has repeatedly effected administrative and demographic changes in territories that it has occupied illegally and forcibly in J&K and Ladakh.”
Describing the Pakistani envoy’s claims as “lies and half-truths”, the embassy said he should “consider holding up a mirror to his own ‘regime’ and reflect on Pakistan’s own actions in the region before making ludicrous characterisations of the Indian government’s actions”.
Haque also told Global Times Islamabad expects “the global community to play the role of honest broker in the dispute and take concrete actions to ameliorate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people”.
On August 5, Pakistani journalists in Beijing raised the scrapping of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status at a Chinese foreign ministry news briefing. In response, spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China closely follows the situation in Kashmir, which was a “dispute left over from history between Pakistan and India”. He added, “Any unilateral change to the status quo is illegal and invalid.”