Luo Zhaohui, China’s crafty ambassador to India sprang a surprise on June 18 by proposing an India-China-Pakistan trilateral summit on the lines of China-Russia-Mongolia meet.. Luo was delivering the keynote address at the Chinese embassy, New Delhi at an event titled ‘Beyond Wuhan: How Far and Fast can China-India Relations Go’. Without naming anyone, Luo claimed this was a proposal suggested by some “Indian friends”, adding that the New Delhi-Beijing relations have gone beyond the bilateral scope. With reference to the proposed trilateral summit, he mentioned “Maybe not now, but in the future”; did he imply persuading the government / after change of government?
Luo has also been talking of: controlling, managing, narrow differences through expanding cooperation; find mutual acceptable solution to boundary issue through Special Representatives’ Meeting; we cannot stand another Doklam; India-China should Sign a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, negotiate a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, enhance connectivity and work for early harvest on boundary issues. Unfortunately, Luo believes that China’s consistent history of ambiguity and deceit can be whitewashed by such pep-talks. Treaties and accords have no meaning for China. Talks for boundary resolutions have gone on without any forward movement.
China continues with her illegal claims on Arunachal Pradesh, continues occupying Doklam and keeps inching forward on Indian territory, besides extensive mining close to Arunachal Pradesh. In January, China was found developing a road 1.5 km on the Indian side of the LAC in three feet of snow in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh. Bilateral trade imbalance continues to weigh heavily in China’s favour. Even the river-water data of River Brahmaputra being shared is unlikely to have details of waters diverted internally by China.
Significantly, this is the same Luo Zhaohui, who along with his deputy Liu Jinsong dropping all diplomatic norms, had the gumption of threatening India not to interfere in Doklam during the standoff – an act for which he deserved to be booted out of India. Luo also had meetings with several Indian Opposition leaders and visited West Bengal. Liu Jinsong made an air dash to Thimpu to meet the King and political leadership. In April 2017, Luo went to Darjeeling and met the district magistrate, perhaps to gain firsthand knowledge of the Gorkha agitation, and making recommendations to Beijing how the situation could be exploited. With respect to Doklam standoff, Chinese media even mentioned that a ‘Third Country” (read China) could enter Kashmir at Pakistan’s request.
Luo Zhaohui’s call for India-China-Pakistan trilateral summit is a mischievous trap for mediating on Kashmir, knowing that the entire state of J&K is Indian Territory and no third party mediation is acceptable to India. Besides, Pakistan has already become de-facto province of China, with CPEC-initiated Chinaization of Pakistan running full steam. His statement that the proposal was suggested by some “Indian friends” indicates either he is lying or indeed he has had discussions on the issue with some Indian Opposition leaders who have no compunctions about such a summit, even India joining CPEC ignoring its sovereignty, if China can help them get back into power. Already, the spectacle of a diplomat turned politician from an opposition party begging Pakistan to bring his party back into power is on video. So why not China, which is bigger power, and aims of both China and Pakistan coalesce in restrict India’s strategic space?
China is in illegal occupation of some 43,135 sq km of territory of J&K: 37,555 sq km (Aksai Chin); 5,180 sq km (Shaksgam Valley), and; 400 sq km through salami slicing. Gilgit-Baltistan (72,971 sq km) leased to China for 50 years by Pakistan also is Indian Territory. China has also indulged in nibbling some 245 sq km of Indian Territory in areas other than J&K and yet claims more areas including 90,000 sq km of entire Arunachal Pradesh. China has brazenly gone about the CPEC and other projects in POK impinging on India’s sovereignty without reference whatsoever to India. China backs Pakistani terror, protecting rabid mullah like Masood Azhar at the UN, and refuses to acknowledge Pakistan exports terror. In fact, China and Pakistan have joined hands in waging irregular war against India, including destabilizing India’s northeast region.
The recent UNHRC Report on Kashmir, that mentions Pakistan in passing but lambasts India for human rights violation in J&K may well have been cooked up with China-Pakistan backing since both these countries are members of the UN Human Rights Council. The fact that UNHRC has become an organization that encourages terrorism was highlighted by India at the UN on June 18, in its response to the UNHRC Report on Kashmir. Biased and warped reporting by the UNHRC is also the reason US recently pulled out from the UN Human Rights Council citing biased allegations against Israel. Chinese meddling in Kashmir can be seen by PLA appearances on Pakistani posts along the LoC, PLA helping Pakistan construct bunkers, supply of weapons and ammunition for cross-border firing and arming terrorists including bunker piercing ammunition, Chinese flags and literature recovered in J&K, digging of tunnels in Gilgit-Baltistan under pretext hydel projects for deploying weapon systems, and establishment of a PLA Brigade Base proximate to Skardu.
Under the circumstances, Luo Zhaohui’s call for India-China-Pakistan trilateral summit is clear mischief; it should not be considered an innocuous statement but directed by Beijing. No Chinese diplomat or even journalist can make any statement without approval of the CCP in Beijing, least of all ambassadors – no matter what cat’s whiskers Luo may have grown after Doklam. He deserves to be given a shut up call and told in similar innocuous manner that an India-China-Tibet trilateral summit would be better option to discuss the unresolved India-China border. There is need to keep the Tibet question open, Wuhan notwithstanding. There cannot be ‘One China’ policy without quid pro quo of ‘One India’. There are many ways to convey this even as the foreign ministry may not want to do it officially.