The China Bogey

The China Bogey
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According to Mehbooba Mufti, China has also begun to interfere in the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, complicating the situation in the state. “The outside forces are part of this and unfortunately now China has also begun to interfere (cheen ne bhi haath dalna shuru kiya hai),” Mehbooba asserted after a meeting with Rajnath Singh. The involvement of China in Kashmir is a stretch and as facetious as it can get. Prima facie and even scratching and probing deeper, there is no real reason for China to get involved in Kashmir. Yes, while the conflict in and over Kashmir might form part of the balancing approach by China toward(s) India, this, however, does not lent itself to the conclusion of a “ hands on involvement” by the country in Kashmir. So why then has Mehbooba raised what amounts to a China bogey over Kashmir? Given the absence of factuals and even counterfactuals, the answer lies in the domain of speculation. Mehbooba’s China remarks come in the wake of a tense standoff and posturing between India and China. This is the context to her remarks. It would appear that by pointing a finger at China in terms of its alleged involvement in Kashmir, powers that be want to conflate China with “ terrorism”. There then is an attempt at guilt by association here. But this is a flawed premise which will neither be bought by powers that be nor does it have any connection with reality. The whole saga is part of a posturing exercise which, after a while will die down. In a way, Mehbooba’s remarks might form part of an Indian balancing strategy against China- of the soft balancing variety. While the standoff between India and China will fizzle out for obvious reasons( asymmetry and power differentials between India and China, trade relations and patterns, among other things) but the sad irony is that Kashmir continues to be, by omission or commission, sought to be connected to conspiracies. This development can only prolong the conflict and not lead to its resolution. The fact of the matter is that the conflict in and over Kashmir needs to and must be resolved. A conflict resolution approach that meets the needs of all stakeholders must be built and followed up. However, this rather prosaic issue is sought to be entangled in a web of conspiracies and conspiracy theories. All this amounts to a travesty.


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