India hits out at Turkey over Syria offensive
Chennai: Ahead of the Second Informal Summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, India on Thursday cracked the whip on Pakistan's close friend Turkey, sending a strong message to countries backing Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
In a strongly-worded statement, New Delhi said it was 'deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in north-east Syria', asking 'Turkey to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,' and adding that 'Turkey's actions can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism' which 'has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress'.
Incidentally, China is Pakistan's main backer and benefactor but Islamabad is also strongly backed by both Turkey and Malaysia. India had recently lodged a strong protest with both Turkey and Malaysia over statements issued by these countries on the Kashmir issue. New Delhi had so far been restrained on Turkey, hoping that it would moderate its position on the Kashmir issue but that did not happen. An upset New Delhi hit back when Turkey initiated military action against the Kurds in north-east Syria.
New Delhi is also closely watching both the Chinese and Pakistani reactions to the Turkish action. While Pakistan has predictably supported Turkey completely, China has issued a guarded reaction that 'all parties have generally felt worried about the possible consequences of Turkey's military actions'.