China has made huge investments in the project and is therefore anxious the CPEC should not be jeopardised.
New Delhi: Was the fear of upsetting Pakistan or else risking protests in that country behind China’s move to withdraw its offer of renaming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)? Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui, in his speech at a strategic affairs think-tank in the Capital, had reportedly suggested that the CPEC could be renamed to allay Indian concerns. But the quote in this regard was missing from the text of the speech on the Chinese Embassy’s website in the Capital, sparking speculation that the Pakistanis were upset and may have raised the issue with the Chinese.
In a major move to persuade India to attend the One Belt One Road (OBOR) conference in Beijing this month, the Chinese envoy had said his country “has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan” and that China does not have any policy of “putting Pakistan first” when it comes to South Asia. The Chinese Ambassador had also said that the CPEC—-to which India is opposed as it passes through PoK——is for “promoting economic cooperation and connectivity” and that it “has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues”.
The Chinese envoy had stated, “India still has reservations over the OBOR, saying that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the Pakistan-Controlled-Kashmir, raising sovereignty concerns. China has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan. China supports the solution of the disputes through bilateral negotiations between the two countries. The CPEC is for promoting economic cooperation and connectivity. It has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues.”
India is opposed to the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which New Delhi has always maintained is sovereign Indian territory under illegal Pakistani occupation. The Pakistanis on the other hand are excited about the CPEC and are viewing it as a game-changer to boost the economy which will ensure that Pakistan is not isolated. The Pakistan Army has promised China that the CPEC will be completed without any hindrance. China has made huge investments in the project and is therefore anxious the CPEC should not be jeopardised.