China Offers Trilateral Talks For Indo-Pak Peace By Mian Abrar

Xi tells Modi Pakistan is ‘ready to resume talks’ with India
ISLAMABAD: China has conveyed India a message of peace from Islamabad and urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a dialogue with Pakistan to help reduce tensions between the two nuclear-capable nations.
The development comes on the heels of the completion of five-year tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Perhaps, with the departure of the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, the military was eager to commence dialogue with India, reflecting the talks offer came directly from the military establishment which had ‘suspected’ Nawaz Sharif’s overtures with Modi.
To add credence to the information available with Pakistan Today, Indian media also reported on Monday, quoting Chinese Ambassador to New Delhi Luo Zhaohui, that China has proposed a trilateral dialogue involving China, Pakistan and India.
Speaking at a seminar in Delhi, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said China “cannot stand another Doklam” and pitched a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
“We cannot stand another Doklam; we need to control, manage, narrow differences through expanding cooperation. The boundary question was left over by history. We need to find a mutually acceptable solution through special representatives,” said the Chinese envoy.
“Some Indian friends suggested that India, China and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral summit on the sidelines of the SCO. So, if China, Russia and Mongolia can have a trilateral summit, then why not India, China and Pakistan?” he said, adding that 5Cs would help promote India-China ties, including communication, cooperation, contacts, coordination and control.
Though Ambassador Luo did not elaborate on whether the proposed trilateral mechanism would include Kashmir dispute, the reference to Doklam reflected he meant Kashmir as well.
Doklam is a mountainous border conflict between China and India and the two countries had recently been involved in a border conflict.
It merits mention here that China has already initiated the dialogue to help improve bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul which has greatly helped the two countries to remove misunderstandings. However, the history of Indo-Pakistan acrimony is quite different from Pakistan-Afghanistan mistrust.
Official sources in Islamabad said that President Xi urged the Indian PM to start talks with Pakistan during the landmark meeting in Wuhan, China.
“President Xi Jinping offset Modi’s agenda by conveying him a message from Islamabad to restart dialogue – a surprise which balanced out Modi’s own agenda for talks,” said sources privy to the development.
“When Narendra Modi landed at Wuhan International Airport on April 27, he had no clue whether the Chinese president would blow him away with a secret message from Islamabad. But when Xi conveyed the message, it took Modi by a surprise who had prepared himself on Indo-China issues only,” a diplomatic source told Pakistan Today.
The sources further said that the offer made by Xi Jinping was a part of his new initiative to bring Pakistan and India to the table.
The message for peace comes when Pakistan is ready to go to the polls. The timing of the dialogue process also suits Pakistan’s military establishment.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has been very busy in dealing with Pakistan’s foreign policy. His recent visits to various countries in a bid to improve bilateral relations have been termed as “military diplomacy” by political commentators.
Bajwa has been ‘credited’ for having a detailed plan about Pakistan’s foreign relations called “The Bajwa Doctrine”. He has already been shuttling between Kabul and Islamabad for trust building between the two neighbours and has been successful in his peace overtures.
He has also achieved some success in repairing Pakistan-US relations and recent warmth between the two countries reflects some improvement after a rocky path in bilateral ties since 2011.
‘Rule of law’ is the theme Gen Bajwa has been selling, stating that army would remain within its constitutional ambit but would keep playing its role to stabilise the democratic process.
When approached, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal chose not to comment over the question sent to him.
A former diplomat said that China was building pressure on New Delhi and Islamabad as hostility between the two archrivals did not go down well with the multibillion-dollar project launched by China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“With China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reaching completion, Beijing is now building ‘soft pressure’ on Pakistan and India to resume talks. For the very purpose, China has now coined the term of ‘trilateral dialogue’ reflecting its seriousness on improvement in Indo-Pakistan ties,” he said.
The former ambassador said that Pakistan would not jump to the dialogue offer until the nature of proposal is crystallized. “Pakistan would be keen to know whether the trilateral dialogue would include Kashmir issue or not,” the former ambassador concluded.

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