Dharamsala, October 20 – China has gone a step further in its bid to internationalize its border disputes with India. Besides issuing separate visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir State China is now projecting Kashmir as an independent country on maps, media kits and tourist information brochures.
A report by Indo Asian News Service stated that visitors to Tibet including foreign journalists are given handouts where Kashmir is indicated as a country separate from India. “Media kits providing ‘basic information’ about Tibet – which China attacked and invaded in the 1950s – says Tibet ‘borders with India, Nepal, Myanmar and Kashmir area’, according to the report.
China on several occasions has expressed its opposition to visits of several top level Indian leaders including the Indian president and Prime Minister to the north eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own territory. India reacted sharply by saying that its Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has every right to visit the state and reiterated that the state is an integral part of the country.
To publicize its claim on Arunachal and to irk India, China has adopted different means like objecting Indian leaders' visit to the state, blocking loans meant for development projects in Arunachal, telling parliamentarians from Arunachal they did not require visa to visit China, issuing visa on separate pages to Indian residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and now projecting Kashmir as an independent country.
India has given a go ahead to the the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal next month but said he should not talk about politics.
India has also asked China to stop its projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in view of "long-term relations." "Pakistan has been in illegal occupation of parts of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir since 1947. The Chinese side is fully aware of India's position and our concerns about Chinese activities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters last week.
Chinese president Hu Jintao met with the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani last week and outlined a major project to upgrade the Karakoram highway connecting the two countries overland and offered China’s help in the Neelam-Jhelum hydroelectric project in PoK.
China has been asking Nepal to deploy armed security forces along the border between northern Nepal and Tibet to curb anti-China activities in Nepal. Nepal’s Home Minister Bhim Rawal and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal recently visited Mustang, the northernmost district in Nepal to assess the security plan. Mustang was once a part of the ancient Tibetan kingdom, which from the early sixties till mid seventies became the base of anti-China guerrilla attacks by Tibet’s Chushi Gangdruk warriors.