China seems to have drawn red lines on a friendship that Pakistan once described as “higher than the mountains and deeper than the ocean”. After pre-dawn airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps by India deep inside Pakistani soil, China has come up with a mild, proforma response with an interesting twist.

In a briefing held in Beijing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lu Kang, responding to a question that India had carried out a “non-military” strike, asked both sides to exercise restraint and resolve problems through talks.

“I want to say that India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia,” he said.

But then came the subtle twist. Kang said: “Fighting terrorism is a global practice and needs necessary cooperation.”


The passing indictment of terrorism did not go amiss in the international and Indian press. Those covering the Communist superpower nation took instant notice.


China’s own Islamist terror problem

China itself is facing terrorism in its Xinjiang province where its Uighur Muslim population lives. After several attacks and a separatist movement involving Uighurs in the last few years, China has been accused of cracking down in the harshest possible way.

It allegedly has over a million Muslims in “re-education camps” where they are taught Islam is a mental sickness, and indoctrinated in Communist ideals. About 30 Islamic names have been outlawed, along with flowing beards and Ramzan fasting.

While China uses Pakistan as a leverage against India and also to further its global dominance with the One Belt One Road project, it will unlikely help maintain a jihadi hotbed which one day could support its own extremists.

India’s diplomatic offensive is on

Back home, India’s Ministry of External Affairs has briefed foreign envoys on the strike on Pak terror camps. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale met envoys of the US, UK, Australia, China, Russia, Turkey and Indonesia and others.

On February 27, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is going to China for a trilateral meeting with Russia and China. She will certainly raise cross-border terrorism at the meeting in Wuzen.

China has so far vetoed India’s requests in the UN to designate Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.