Indian antagonist pursuit towards China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has come out amenably with their malevolence and policy of isolating Pakistan in the region triggered another phase of hostility with neighboring country, but China is still optimistic that India can also benefit from the regional connectivity being offered.
Since the CPEC conceived, India has voiced serious objections to the project propagating that some of these projects are being implemented in parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Both Pakistan and China have given rebuttals to India’s objections. Huang Xilian, Deputy Director General of Asian Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, while dismissing India’s objections to the project, stated “We know the concern of the Indian side and those projects are not political projects. They are all for livelihood of people. There is no commercial action by China in that part of the region.” India lodged a protest with the Chinese Ambassador in India, while India’s Ambassador in China also raised the issue on the eve of the Indian PM’s China visit. PM Modi also raised this issue during his visit to Beijing.
China is still optimistic that India can also benefit from the regional connectivity being offered to India but Indian apprehensions on CPEC will provide a larger footprint to china in the region.
Geo-politically, the emphasis of Indian diplomacy is on minimizing pro-Pakistan goodwill among Pakistan’s neighbors and other countries in the region. Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj put forth India’s objections to the project during a press conference, highlighting the fact that India had already expressed its apprehensions to China. Swaraj said, “We lodged a protest calling the Chinese ambassador. We lodged a protest through our Ambassador there (Beijing). And when the Prime Minister had gone there (to China), he talked about it very firmly. He raised it very strongly that it is not acceptable to us what you are talking about China-Pakistan economic corridor going to PoK.” Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected India’s objections, pointing to the Chinese response. Sharif said, “I want to inform you that China has already rejected the objections.” Pakistan’s Foreign office too has dismissed India’s concerns stating that the project will not just benefit Pakistan, but the whole region.
However, China is still optimistic that India can also benefit from the regional connectivity being offered to India but Indian apprehensions on CPEC will provide a larger footprint to china in the region. Global politics has assumed a new demeanor in the twenty-first century. This century is not merely one of competition – rather, competitors are now more interdependent than ever. The world has transitioned away from Cold War bipolarity and post-Cold War uni-polarity. Now, regional actors matter more and regional integration is considered key to global peace and prosperity – and economic interdependence is vital for regional integration. To achieve this, regional states must be brought together for trade and development with trade unions, political unions, free trade areas, or customs unions.
The world has transitioned away from Cold War bipolarity and post-Cold War uni-polarity.
In International Relations Theory of complex interdependence idea put forth by Robert Keohane & Joseph NYE that states and their fortunes are inextricably tied together. South Asia is one of the most troubled regions of the world. Conflicts are the main feature of the region, which is exacerbated by the arms race between Pakistan and India. South Asia is one of the least economically integrated regions in the world – Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa all have higher intra-regional trade.
Intra-regional trade is only 3-5% of the total trade of the region, representing just over 1% of regional GDP, while this percentage is 7% in East Asia. India’s trade with its neighbors is less than 3% of its total trade. The region’s salient features are under-development, increasing population, energy scarcity, struggling economies, extremism, militancy, terrorism, water scarcity, and climate change. These challenges have an immense impact on South Asia’s economies.
However, China, with the second largest economy in the world, wants to use its economic influence in the region. The CPEC is one of the key components of China’s plan. The agreement, signed between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Xi Jinping, includes $46 billion in investments from China. This includes $15.5 billion in coal, wind, solar, and hydropower projects which will increase Pakistan’s national grid capacity by 10,400 MW. It also includes a project to build a $44 million fiber-optic cable.
The CPEC is not a zero-sum game where Pakistan gains and India loses. If the economic cooperation between china and Pakistan can improve infrastructure in the region, India will have an opportunity to expand trade routes to central Asia. Now, China heavily depends on shipping routes that pass through the Strait of Malacca. The trip takes at least 45 days. With CPEC, China could route trade through the Kashgar-Gwadar route, which would take only 10 days. This project aims to join Gwadar Port with China’s Xinjiang region through highways, railways, and pipelines to transport oil and gas. The CPEC is a significant component of the Silk Road vision, running about 3,000 kilometers from Gwadar to Kashgar.
The CPEC is being called a game changer, despite apprehensions about potential security challenges as the route passes through volatile regions of both countries. This is one prong of China’s “One Belt, One Road” vision, which aims to join South Asia and Central Asia. This project has the potential to transform regional trade routes. China has planned road and rail infrastructure and oil and gas pipelines joining X’ian in Central China to Central Asia and Moscow, Rotterdam, and Vienna. China will also establish a maritime route that joins South Asia, Southeast Asia, North Africa, and the northern Mediterranean Sea.
India is threatening to raise the stakes in Baluchistan and GB because India was dismayed by CPEC and it was vociferous in its opposition. Prime Minister Modi termed the agreement “unacceptable” and raised the issue with the Chinese government. India also objected to the corridor passing through Kashmir, which China dismissed by stating that it was merely a commercial project. India has a large economy and is trying hard to become a global power. It aspires to reach out to Central Asia for trade and energy transportation. Pakistan blocks the way, which can be opened up with CPEC. India has taken keen interest in Iran’s Chahbahar Port. Pakistan’s land routes can be utilized for trade through Chahbahar if the two countries can enhance trust through economic integration.
Economic prosperity is vital to solving important issues and challenges in South Asia, once their interests are combined, hostile countries will have an incentive to sit together to create solutions to regional problems.
The CPEC can offer India a lot of advantages like India have the possibility to do more trade with Pakistan and regional countries, it can link it up with high speed roads and railways links under this framework and border will open and there will be more and more people to people contact. Such cooperation will increase dependencies and promote regional stability. The CPEC is a step forward toward Chinese aspirations of economic dominance in Asia and beyond. Economic prosperity is vital to solving important issues and challenges in South Asia, once their interests are combined, hostile countries will have an incentive to sit together to create solutions to regional problems.