Beijing: China has been "observing" the situation in Kashmir, President Xi Jinping told Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday and added that it would support Pakistan on issues related to its core interests, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xi Jinping's remarks seem to have created some awkwardness, given that he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai for an informal summit later this week.
Xi also assured Imran Khan that the friendship between China and Pakistan is "unbreakable and rock-solid" despite changes in the international and regional situation.
Political observers have not missed out on the fact that ahead of Xi's trip to India, China has gone out of the way to invite Khan for talks. On his part, the Pakistan Prime Minister "called for more efforts to prevent the situation (in Kashmir) from worsening and getting out of control," it said.
Not for other countries to comment: India on Wednesday reacted sharply to reports of Xi Jinping and Imran Khan discussing the Kashmir issue and scrapping of Article 370, saying Beijing is "well aware" of New Delhi's position and it is not for other countries to comment on its internal affairs.
‘‘We have seen the report regarding the meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
"India's position has been consistent and clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India."
Beijing, the all-weather ally of Islamabad, has backed Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his address to the UN General Assembly saying, "No actions that would unilaterally change the status quo should be taken".
MODI-XI SUMMIT: Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit India from October 11 to 12 to take part in the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which they are expected to hold comprehensive talks on a host of issues concerning the bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues.
Xi will hold the informal meeting with Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuram near Chennai and then pay a state visit to Nepal on October 13.
This is the second informal summit between Modi and Xi. The first one was held last year at the Chinese city of Wuhan, which enabled the two countries to normalise the relations on all fronts after the 73-day standoff between the two militaries at Doklam in 2017.
By K J M Varma