Global Times correspondent: Wang Panpan
“Why does India oppose China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?” A report published by Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) says that India’s opposition stems from two major concerns: internationalization of Kashmir dispute and the growing influence of China in the Indian Ocean region, reported Daily Pakistan on February 6.
The report says there is considerable concern in India that if China’s economic and political interests in the region expand, China will not be able to remain neutral on Kashmir and will become a stakeholder in the issue. The bigger worry is that if China gets a foothold in the Indian Ocean, even if it is negligible in the beginning, it may eventually become a gateway to the Arabian Sea and evolve into a military presence. In addition, India is also concerned that China may use the Gwadar port to monitor the Indian naval activities, assisting in the expansion of China’s own navy. “CPEC may break the regional balance of military power, limiting the geopolitical extension of India.” The report says that unlike India, Afghanistan and Iran are very supportive of the CPEC project.
On January 17, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a meeting that construction of CPEC “should respect the sovereignty of other countries.” This is considered to be referring to CPEC passing through Kashmir. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on the following day that the CPEC is a new cooperative framework set up by China and Pakistan to focus on long-term development of bilateral cooperation in various fields and is conducive to regional peace and development. This kind of cooperation is not directed against any third party, and will not affect China’s position on the Kashmir issue.
In an interview with the Global Times on February 7, Wang Dehua, adviser to China Association for South Asian studies said that India is now trying to play a card using the CPEC; deep inside, it wants to join, because the CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have great attraction toward Indian economy, and India is also one of the shareholders of Asia Investment Bank. Some opposition from the Indian government is the hawk faction trying to put pressure on China to make some concessions on the border issue by opposing the CPEC. This is obviously not possible. In the future, China and India may make some high-level decision-making regarding this, shelve the territorial disputes, and develop together. ▲