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'Invitation to Mirwaiz not linked to Dalai Lama's Arunachal trip'

Source: PTI
November 23, 2009 19:13 IST
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China's invitation to Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for a visit is 'unrelated' to India allowing the Dalai Lama to tour Arunachal Pradesh, Chinese scholars said on Monday, as they asserted that Beijing was 'not that petty-minded to take revenge'.

Chinese experts, quoted by People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, claimed that China is not interfering in the dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan despite Beijing's invitation to the Mirwaiz. Farooq's expected visit to China comes after the Dalai Lama toured Arunachal Pradesh, over which China protested strongly.

The reports noted that there is speculation that China's move to invite the Mirwaiz is 'a counter-measure' by Beijing. Commenting on the issue, Wang Dehua, a prominent scholar on South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, ruled out such speculation, saying the visits are unrelated.

"Though some people in India attempt to pressure China by inviting the Dalai, we are not that petty-minded to seek revenge," Wang said. Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for South Asia at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said that India remains highly vigilant against China, which, he said, is unnecessary.

China had asked India not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, on which it lays claim. "India should appreciate the fact that China has never sought a hand in its internal affairs," Zhao said.

"It should also stay clear of China's domestic affairs, especially the Dalai Lama issue, restricting his activities in India," he said.

Wang disputed the Mirwaiz' controversial comments saying that China has a 'stake' in regional peace as certain parts of Kashmir are under its control. "China is a global power and has huge influence in the region and as such China also has a direct link with Kashmir, because certain parts of Kashmir are in Chinese control, which have been given by Pakistan to them -- Aksai Chin and those areas," he had said.

Wang said the statement was 'groundless' and a result of misunderstanding. "China has been advocating a resolution through peaceful dialogue between India and Pakistan," Wang said.

"Remarks by Farooq were his hope that China could have a bigger role in South Asia. The Mirwaiz had also welcomed a recent joint statement by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his United States counterpart Barak Obama, who voiced support for better India-Pakistan relations.

"It is wrong for India to relate some of China's statements, including the mentioning of South Asia in the China-US joint statement and China's assistance on power plant constructions in Pakistan, to Beijing's so-called interference with the Kashmir issue," he said.

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