Thursday June 13, 2024

India’s campaign against CPEC

By Zahoor Khan Marwat
October 12, 2020

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in the year 2013. With the emergence of China as a global economic superpower, trade through the Indian Ocean is set to rise significantly in the coming decades, especially through CPEC. China is working hard to operationalise the BRI, which aims at seeking regional and global connectivity through land and sea. The Indian Ocean has emerged as a centre for regional trade as around 90,000 vessels in the world’s commercial fleet transport 9.84 billion tons of cargo through the ocean besides 40pc of world’s oil supply also passes through the same waters. With 19.9pc of the global trade volume passing through the Indian Ocean, the total trade passing through the ocean is 70pc of the world trade in value.

In this regard, the claim made by Indian naval chief Admiral Karambir Singh in January 2020 that CPEC impinges on India’s sovereignty is a blatant lie. The admiral parrotted the Indian stance that since CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, which at the time of Partition was partially aligned with Kashmir, therefore, it passes through the territory of a disputed area on which India claimed its sovereignty. Earlier, in July 2018, S Jaishankar, the Indian foreign secretary, told the Chinese officials in Beijing that CPEC allegedly violated Indian sovereignty because it runs through Azad Kashmir. China outright rejected the Indian stance. New Delhi also fears that once CPEC becomes operational, its influence in Central Asia and Afghanistan will diminish along with occupied Kashmir.

There are also fears in India that CPEC is internationalising the Kashmir dispute on which India has gone on backfoot after strong international opposition to the annexation of the territory in 2019. It believes the building CPEC would put spotlight on the disputed region. The Indians are also under the impression that CPEC, once fully operational, would hurt India's economic growth. This claim is also ludicrous as the Indian economy as compared to Pakistan is massive and will in no way be dented by the BRI project.

The Indians are going all the way to oppose CPEC and hurt Pakistan's economic progress. Their investment in Chahbahar in Iran was a step in that direction but the port has not taken off and in the near future does not hold any promise for Indian investment.

According to reported figures, the CPEC project is US$54 billion economic corridor, including 11 billion investment on rail and road projects and 33 billion on power generation projects.

India is also alarmed at the prospect of Pakistan emerging as an outsourcing destination. This will happen when new industrial towns will emerge along with the corridor where skilled workforce will be based, allowing the country to emerge as a center of contract-manufacturing-outsourcing. Indians claim it could hurt the Indian exports in textile and other sectors.

Kulbhushan Yadhav, an Indian saboteur and spy, was involved in masterminding terrorist activities in the country, especially in Balochistan and Karachi and against CPEC. He admitted that “…I have been directing various activities in Balochistan and Karachi at the behest of RAW and deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi. My purpose was to hold meetings with Baloch insurgents and carry out activities with their collaboration. These activities have been of criminal nature, leading to killing of or maiming of Pakistani citizens.”

It has been proven that Yadhav and his network sponsored and directed a series of terrorist attacks, including IEDs and grenade assaults in Gwadar and Turbat, attack on the radar station and civilian boats at the Jiwani port, bombing of gas pipelines and electric pylons in Sibi and Sui areas in Balochistan, an IED explosion in Quetta in 2015, attacks on Hazaras in Quetta and Zaireen en route to and back from Iran. No matter what, CPEC will emerge successful with unwavering Chinese and Pakistani support.