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Chinese officials have made a similar argument to their Indian counterparts when pressed about the projects.

‘Neutrality on Kashmir’

While Mr. Hong did not further elaborate China’s stand, officials had, in the past, described their projects as being carried out “without prejudice” to disputes between India and Pakistan. The projects, they said, were purely commercial, with China not deviating from its stated position of “neutrality” on the issue.

India has rejected that argument, pointing out that China had itself expressed strong opposition to Indian cooperation with Vietnam on exploration projects in the waters of the South China Sea, which are contested by China and a number of other countries.

The Global Times in an editorial on Thursday said India “must accept and adapt” to the friendship between China and Pakistan as Beijing “cannot scale down this relationship” to address its concerns.