No need to exxagerate concerns over OBOR, CPEC

Owen Stevens
May 9, 2017

Just days before its One Belt One Road (OBOR) Summit next week, China offered to consider renaming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir if this is what it would take to get New Delhi to warm up to the idea of becoming part of President Xi Jinping's pet project, OBOR.

Pakistan on Monday sought clarification from Chinese Counsel General over an Indian report about China's willingness to change the name of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to assuage India's concerns about the project.

China, he said, "even can think about renaming the CPEC (the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor)".

Addressing a session at the United Service Institution of India here on May 5, the ambassador suggested China as the mediator between the two nations, under the pre-condition of mutual acceptance by the two parties. By developing the One Belt, One Road initiative, particularly the CPEC component, China is moving in the opposite direction to what appears to be an increasingly isolated United States when it comes to global trade.

China had been recently stepped it's up efforts to persuade India and Indian public opinion to join the Belt-Road Initiative summit in Beijing on May 14-15, which was to be attended by almost 28 heads of state. "Simply put, we always put China first and we deal with problems based on their own merits", he said. Then we supported a settlement through bilateral negotiation in line with the Simla Agreement.

That China Pakistan Economic Corridor where the Chinese have promised to invest a massive $50 billion in Pakistan to shore up infrastructure is an important part of the BRI, is where India's reservations also stem from.

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China has proposed a four-point initiative to resolve differences with India and strengthen relations between both countries.

The development of China, India, Pakistan and the stability of the whole region call for a stable and friendly environment, he said. We sincerely hope that India can become more developed, as it not only benefits Indian people but also creates more opportunities for China's development.

Experts in India say New Delhi joining the Belt and Road initiative would amount to surrendering its claim over Kashmir held by Pakistan. China, he said "even can think about renaming the CPEC".

"We will pair them up with local companies for any potential business opportunities", he said.

According to Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, "The Chinese ambassador's speech has not addressed any of the problem areas between India and China"-these include the unsettled boundary issue and the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama's presence in India". On India's bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said: "We do not oppose any country's membership, believing that a standard for admission should be agreed upon first". Moreover, the growing Chinese proximity to Pakistan, and aggressive Chinese outreach to other countries in the Subcontinent, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka et al, is being seen as a move to encircle India. This dialogue process had ensured that India participated as an observer at China's counter-terror exercise in its restive Xinjiang province in 2012.

"Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, with a GDP of 11 trillion USA dollars".

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