CPEC Can Be Extended To J&K: China

SRINAGAR: Insisting that China has remained “neutral on the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir”, an opinion copy that appeared in one of the leading Chinese newspapers says that economic ties lack any consequence on its disputed status or the sovereignty of India or Pakistan. It insists that the dispute over Kashmir should be settled peacefully with pragmatism.

“China is neutral on the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir,” the brief opinion says. “China, along with the majority of the international community, remains neutral and hopes the dispute could be solved through peace talks.”

The opinion titled New Delhi’s objection to CPEC in Kashmir not to its own benefit was authored by Long Xingchun, a research fellow at the Charhar Institute and director of the Centre for Indian Studies at China West Normal University.

“When the China-Pakistan boundary agreement regarding the Xinjiang-Kashmir border was signed in 1963, both sides agreed that it was a temporary pact, and China will have negotiations with the regional administration after the disputes are solved,” the write-up said. “Despite the lukewarm China-India relations and the strengthened China-Pakistan relations later, China still stands firm with the agreement in show of China’s diplomatic principles and goodwill to India, which New Delhi should recognize and appreciate.”

The write-up has been written on the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC), insisting that Delhi must support it “to its own benefit”. “India has argued that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) poses threat to its sovereignty in Kashmir since the Beijing-initiated project goes through the disputed area that India claims,” it said. “The CPEC won’t affect the status quo of Kashmir disputes. The investment from Chinese companies and their participation in some architectural construction won’t affect the situation of Kashmir either.”

“The CPEC, however, will boost the economic development in the region, bringing jobs and improving the quality of life,” the write-up says. “The project can be extended to the India-administered Kashmir area if India allows, and benefit the Indian people, as well as regional stability.”

Reiterating Chinese official stand on “India-Pakistan dispute” over Kashmir, the write-up says economic ties will have no bearing on it. “Just like the Taiwan question, Beijing doesn’t object any economic links between Taiwan and other countries including India, because economic activities won’t alter China’s sovereignty over the island,” the write up asserts. “Hence, India should be flexible and pragmatic, and be more open to economic activities in the Kashmir region conducted by Chinese companies.”

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