China’s One Belt, One Road initiative has entitled it to a vested interest in mediating in regional conflicts including the Kashmir dispute, Global Times reported. While citing that Beijing has followed a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, the report said its government would not hesitate to protect its overseas investments.
Beijing is focusing on projecting itself as a stabilising force and conflict mediator in the region, the report said. “Given the massive investment that China has made in countries along the One Belt, One Road, China now has a vested interest in helping resolve regional conflicts including the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan,” the report said.
It highlighted that the mediation process between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir conflict would be the most challenging in Beijing’s attempts to “safeguard its overseas interests”. The report said that while China’s rising economic influence gave it more leverage, it had to be “prudent in dealing with other big powers, including India”.
India’s ties with China soured recently after the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh was followed by the neighbouring nation renaming parts of the state to “standardised” Chinese names. China has also maintained its cordial ties with Pakistan, even giving Pakistan two patrol ships to help monitor their economic corridor and the Gwadar port. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be 3,000-km long and is aimed at connecting the two countries through a network of railway tracks, roads, pipelines and optical cable fibres. India has expressed its concerns about the project since part of it passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.