On November 12, Pakistan and China have joined hands to inaugurate the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Beijing has acquired more than 2,00 acres in Balochistan. The the usage right of the land has been given to a Chinese company to develop the strategic Gwadar port.

India has objected to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project as it passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and so has the European Parliament.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma 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.”

On the other hand, at a conference held in Strasbourg, Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice President European Parliament, spoke how China is engaged in PoK, adding that “there is a lot of resentment among locals in the region of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir over the negative environmental impact and the utter disregard for environmental safety norms by the Chinese infrastructure developers.”

However, China was quick to defend its position and its investments in PoK. Deputy Director General of the Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Huang Xilian, said: “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.

“There is this kind of action for many years. We do not side with any party on the issue of the territory. We have been advocating that the disputes should be solved through concerned parties through peaceful means. The kind of commercial activities do not affect the position of China on the claimants of the territory.”

The CPEC project will connect China and Pakistan at the Gwadar port city, which will get linked to China’s Kashgar city in Xinjiang through a network of roads and oil pipelines. China claims that its $1.62 billion investment is aimed at improving livelihoods of local people and includes the construction of an expressway linking the harbour and coastline, a rail link, breakwater and other nine projects expected to be completed in three to five years.

The Global Panorama