India has consistently protested against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, saying it passes through the "territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan".
India on Saturday categorically rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint press release by China and Pakistan pertaining to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned to not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
Reiterating its position on the ambitious $60 billion project, the MEA also stated that India “resolutely oppose(s) actions by other countries that change the status quo in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir and call on the parties concerned to cease such actions”.
In their second annual strategic dialogue Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussed the Kashmir issue and progress on the CPEC among a host of other issues.
A joint statement issued after Wang-Qureshi talks said the Pakistani side briefed the Chinese delegation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues. “The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” it said.
The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China’s ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has consistently protested against the project saying it passes through the “territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan”.
However, both China and Pakistan have progressed with talks regarding the project. In July this year, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had vowed that his government would complete the project at “any cost”, calling it a manifestation of the all-weather friendship between the two countries.
In September last year, a month after the special status of the then state of Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated and the state divided into two union territories, India had hit out at China, saying it “expects that other countries will respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and desist from efforts to change the status quo through the illegal so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.”
India’s response had come after China’s appeal at the United Nations against the 2019 August 5 development concerning Jammu and Kashmir of which it stressed that no actions should be taken that would unilaterally change the “status quo”.
The BRI was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.
The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and other projects under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013. Originally valued at USD 46 billion, the projects were worth USD 62 billion as of 2017