WEB DESK: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been in India to discuss various issues of mutual interest, with a focus on forging closer cooperation at the October BRICS summit in Goa, India, from where he started his three-day visit, and also the G-20 summit scheduled for next month.
However, his hosts were equally keen to bring up at least three issues that directly or indirectly concern Pakistan. According to reports, at a three-hour meeting on Saturday his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj told the visitor her country would “resolutely oppose” the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), arguing it is routed through ‘disputed’ territory of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. New Delhi has an interesting self-refuting argument when on the one hand it claims Kashmir as its integral part and on the other hand describes it as a dispute, which of course it is – as recognised by two UNSC resolutions.
And disputes need to be solved rather than perpetuated. Good sense therefore suggests that India hold Kashmir-specific talks with Pakistan to settle this long festering issue, creating an environment conducive to forging of fruitful partnerships in the region. It is worthwhile to note in the context that the Silk Road – constructed following the 1963 Sino-Pak boundary agreement and exchange of land in the area – also passes through the same ‘disputed’ territory, but India has had no problem with it. Clearly, the urge at present to “resolutely oppose” the CPEC more than anything else arises out of a strong sense of rivalries as the project is to bring enormous economic benefits to a traditional adversary, Pakistan, and open up new trade and energy routes to China via the deep-sea Gwadar Port.
India’s External Affairs Minister also took up China’s opposition to her country’s efforts – supported and promoted by the US – to gain membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for which Pakistan is also a candidate. Notably, India is not a signatory either to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) yet the US has been lobbying hard to seek an exemption for it, raising the country’s hopes of success at the last plenary only to be dashed by China’s objection to the idea of exception.
Beijing’s principled stance that any new membership should be criteria-based is supported by several NSG members. Since the group’s decisions require consensus, as long as China stands in the way, India cannot have its wish. Relations with Pakistan may be a consideration, but Beijing has its other concerns too, such as New Delhi siding with its challengers on the South China Sea row.
The third issue Swaraj raised with Wang was about what she called China’s ‘technical hold’ on listing of Masood Azhar, founding leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, in a UN Security Council committee, urging his side to revisit its stand. Issues such as this can be best resolved through a dialogue between the parties concerned, which was the advice Wang gave telling his hosts to “sort it out” with Pakistan. National security advisers of the two countries are said to be on good terms; that is where the matter needs to be discussed and resolved.
Source: Business Recorder