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News Analysis |

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said India is doing propaganda over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of its negative tactics to divert world attention from the Kashmir issue.

Abbasi said in a television interview on Sunday, a day after Pakistan responded to General Mattis’ statement on CPEC. While urging the international community to focus attention on human rights violations in Kashmir, the Foreign Office said: “CPEC is a development and connectivity project for the betterment of the people in the region and beyond.”

Pakistan has shifted its orientation back toward the Kashmir cause as was evident in the country’s UNGA campaign last month. Pakistan also realizes the importance of the need to arrest a fraying relationship with the US

Abbasi said though nothing good is expected from Delhi, Pakistan is still ready for meaningful talks. On the issue of Kashmir, Abbasi reiterated his assertions in the UNGA, stressing upon the need to resolve the matter in-line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. “Kashmiris should be given right of a plebiscite to decide their fate,” said Abbasi while pledging to continue moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination.

Read more: Is PML-N government mishandling the CPEC project?

Kashmir and CPEC in limelight

The 72nd session of the UNGA last month perched Kashmir right up there as the main flashpoint between India and Pakistan who are on the path to further fray their ties. Kashmir issue has now turned into a war of narratives. India sees it a bilateral matter which is being disturbed by Pakistan’s alleged export of terrorism in the valley, while Pakistan calls it the just support for freedom of the Kashmiris from occupying Indian forces.

The pressure on CPEC has to be seen through the lens of the Sino-US tiff in the region and beyond. The multi-front China-USA rivalry is making the most of the clash between India and Pakistan

The statement of General Mattis about CPEC passing through the disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan is being seen as yet another word of support for New Delhi. The US has changed its stance from apprehensions to open remarks about the project. Analysts opine that given the importance of CPEC to China’s expansion, the US has propped up its ally in India by playing up its long-held view on CPEC.

However, it must be borne in mind that Pakistan also links Gilgit Baltistan to Kashmir and considers it a disputed territory. That being said, both Pakistan and China have iterated that the multi-billion dollar project is aimed at economic connectivity and must not be taken as an infringement of sovereignty.

Read more: Pakistani businessman’s dreams of “CPEC fortunes” getting frustrated?

China also responded to Mattis’ statement on Friday. Beijing’s foreign ministry said: “We have repeatedly reiterated that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative that is not directed against third parties and has nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes and does not affect China’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue.”

Analysts opine that given the importance of CPEC to China’s expansion, the US has propped up its ally in India by playing up its long-held view on CPEC

The pressure on CPEC has to be seen through the lens of the Sino-US tiff in the region and beyond. The multi-front China-USA rivalry is making the most of the clash between India and Pakistan. CPEC will enable China to lessen its reliance on the Strait of Malacca, thereby significantly reducing the US’ ability to disrupt China’s trading clout.

Thus CPEC, being a central plank in the OBOR initiative becomes a concern for the US. With India fast-becoming an important crutch for the US in the region, one can reasonably expect more statements in support of India’s stance on Kashmir and CPEC.

Read more: CPEC: a corridor of prosperity or uncertainty?

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said India is doing propaganda over the CPEC as part of its negative tactics to divert world attention from the Kashmir issue

Pakistan has shifted its orientation back toward the Kashmir cause as was evident in the country’s UNGA campaign last month. However, Pakistan also realizes the importance of the need to arrest a fraying relationship with the US. Prime Minister Abbasi said: “Both countries are committed to remaining engaged with a range of issues, including the issue of war on terror.”

Though Pakistan has shown a great deal of anxiety over the growing nexus between India and the US, it has been found wanting in assiduous diplomacy and taking advantage of new windows to redress the balance in its favor especially regarding India’s diplomatic and strategic relations with India.

2 COMMENTS

  1. China has a population of 1.35 billion people. The second largest economy after USA. China achieved this status through economic reforms and utilizing a fraction of it’s work force. Just imagine if half of the Chinese work force starts to deliver, China would overtake USA as the largest, strongest economy in the world but would also have a fairly strong Military backed by all those countries benefiting through trade with China. That is how the New World Order would come about minus USA and India. The Americans have the option of joining this initiative, just imagine, American ingenuity, the ability to reinvent itself every decade or so and the Chinese work force working together. It could do wonders for humanity, see new technological heights that one can only imagine. Alas, somewhere along this journey, America wants to go it alone, maybe allowing the Indians to follow. One thing is for sure, if the same foolhardy, bull headed approach continues, nobody will come out of it winning. All would lose. All. India with it’s Billion plus, poverty stricken, hungry souls wants to play tag in it’s neighborhood in partnership with a country on the other side of the earth. Maybe, just maybe the Indian people can muster some sanity out of their Government’s present insanity. Seems to me, it all has more to do with personal national ego than anything else. Oh well, to all their own.

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