Tuesday, August 22, 2017

To fight terrorism by Pakistan, India should deepen ties with both US & Russia


By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | Updated: Aug 22, 2017, 08.18 AM IST

The panel echoed the government’s worries over China's role in building infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary standing committee on external affairs has recommended that India should “deepen and widen” its engagement with both the United States and Russia to fight terrorism abetted and exported by Pakistan.

“The international community need to realize that the use of terrorism as a state policy by a nuclear-armed Pakistan is not only India's problem, but also a grave global concern,” the committee said in its latest report.

The committee, headed by Congress MP and former minister of state for external affairs,Shashi Tharoor, submitted its report on India-Pakistan relations to the Lok Sabha earlier this month.

The panel echoed the government’s worries over China's role in building infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“It is quite inexplicable that a country so sensitive about sovereignty and territorial integrity has been oblivious about our sovereignty concerns on (the) CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor),” the report said.

The CPEC is a proposed economic corridor linking Kashgar in Xinxiang in north-western China and a deep sea port at Gwadar inBalochistan in south-western Pakistan. It is proposed to pass through areas India accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying in Kashmir.

“It is worrisome to discern that some of the projects under the CPEC are in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir which has been in illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947,” the committee said in the report.

The committee includes MPs of ruling BJP and opposition Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist).

India has been opposing the CPEC, which is billed as the flagship project under the One-Belt-One-Road initiative.

“We may well be poised for greater Pakistan-China strategic collaboration and should prepare for that eventuality,” foreign secretary S Jaishankar said while briefing the parliamentary panel about China-Pakistan engagements, according to people aware of the matter.

The committee also took note of China’s persistent policy of blocking India’s move to bring Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and other terrorist leaders based in Pakistan under United Nations sanctions. It recommended that the government should continue its dialogue with its international partners, including China, for bringing the JeM chief under UN sanctions.

The report said that India has not yet decided on stripping Pakistan of the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ for trade status, although it has been under review since the September 2016 terrorist attack at Uri. It said that the commerce ministry had informed it that no decision had been taken so far on the withdrawal of the MFN status India had granted to Pakistan for bilateral trade.

The panel said that Pakistan continued to be reluctant to reciprocate and accord India the MFN status. It said that the government should make all possible efforts to persuade Pakistan to reciprocate by extending the MFN status to India

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