Skip to main content

Including India in CPEC good for region

Including India in CPEC good for region

By Ghulam Ali Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/1 20:03:39


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT


At first glance, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) appears a bilateral project between China and Pakistan. In reality, the corridor's optimum results could be achieved by linking it with regional countries: India in the east of Pakistan, and in the west Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. The present momentum indicates progress solely westward. Given the bitterness of India-Pakistan relations, Pakistan neither officially invited India to join nor did India show any interest in the corridor. New Delhi in fact opposed it.     

Indian opposition comes from its alleged sovereignty issues. New Delhi claims that a part of the corridor passes from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, which India asserts is its own sovereign territory. In the Indian view, China and Pakistan have no right to develop the corridor.   

This is not the first time China and Pakistan have developed projects in Kashmir. In the past they developed projects like the 1970s Karakoram Highway. Given the scale and the scope of the corridor, the Indian reaction is relatively strong. India needs to realize that its participation or opposition, and the development of Kashmir as a result of the corridor, will not affect the legal positions of India and Pakistan on Kashmir.   

Secondly, if one supposes for a while that the corridor truly involves a disputed territory, then what about the Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar Corridor launched earlier than CPEC and not passing through any disputed area? This corridor received a lukewarm response from India and so did not achieve any progress. 

In fact, many Indian quarters view China-led projects with deep suspicion. They cannot break from the past and continue to view Sino-Indian relations from the prism of the 1960s. This mind-set led India to boycott the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation where it missed the opportunity to interact with delegates from more than 60 countries. We assume that all of them had come to Beijing after careful consideration. Even India's close ally the US and Japan had representation. 

It is India's legitimate right to decide whether or not to join the project. However, distancing itself from a 21st century project of unprecedented connectivity, economic opportunity and interdependence is worth a second thought if India aspires to big power status. To achieve its ambitions, India needs economic development which is entwined with the uninterrupted flow of energy and peaceful borders.   

No doubt India is deepening ties with the oil-rich Gulf, the Middle East and Iran for energy security. Without the corridor and normalized relations with Pakistan, India must connect with these regions via long land and sea routes and so exponentially raise the cost of imports and exports. The cost-effective but now redundant Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline is one of the victims of India-Pakistan rivalry. The reality is that Pakistan is the key component in India's direct links with Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and part of the Middle East.  

To be fair, India is not solely responsible for regional disharmony. Pakistan played its role too. Islamabad never invited India to join the corridor officially. Instead, Pakistani authorities accused India of sabotaging the project by fanning insurgency in Baluchistan. Islamabad ignored the fact that the exclusion of India, with the world's second largest population and an emerging economy, would be to its own disadvantage. 

If the Pakistani elite think realistically, the country can work as a conduit to link energy-starved India with energy-rich regions and in return reap economic benefits and access for its own products to Indian and Southeast Asian markets. 

This would develop interdependence, remove the prospects of Indian sabotage, ensure security and at a later stage, pave the way for dialogue: the only way to settle disputes. This long-term perspective is lacking among Pakistani strategists. 

It might be difficult for India and Pakistan to think about a change in their nationalistic perspectives on Kashmir. To begin, they can devise a modus operandi that cooperation on the corridor will not affect their stance. Or at least India can join or be invited to participate where alleged sovereignty is not infringed. 

Every cloud has a silver lining. Apart from public discourses, serious quarters in both India and Pakistan do explore possibilities of cooperation. An earliest realization is better. 

The author teaches at the Department of Political Science, School of Marxism at Sichuan University of Science & Engineering.


Popular posts from this blog

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

Balochistan to establish first medical university

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017