Is China ready to accept Indian stand of CPEC ?

KVS Haridas analyzes the statement of the Chinese foreign minister on 2nd Modi – Xi informal summit.

At last China to accept the Indian stand on the China- Pak Economic Corridor? Yes, those who believe that is in the offing cannot be blamed. The recent statement from the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the discussions that Chinese President Xi Jinping had with Narendra Modi shows the clear signs of that. Every one knew that it is not something that can succeed till everything goes on the right track; but we have the symptoms of that. Even Pakistan must have been taken into confidence by the Beijing in one way or the other. I have written earlier in an article on OpIndia, on Xi Jinping’s recent visit to India has raised the need for the China to recognize India’s positions on Kashmir for its own economic interests in Pakistan.

In my above article, it’s mentioned that, “for Xi, the Pak-China economic corridor is the most important issue now. But even Beijing seems to be convinced that it is impossible for them to move forward, without taking India into confidence. How that is possible, should be the subject that comes to us at this meeting. Will they be willing to include India too in the project, which passes through the PoK? It remains to be seen as to what is there in the minds of China. But they have few option; I do think that Narendra Modi has nothing else to say, i.e., China can’t do anything in Indian territory without India’s consent.

In that case, China has to do three things. One, it will have to accept or recognize that the PoK belongs to India; Second, China will have to have a new India-China-Pakistan agreement for the CPEC; Then, naturally, Pakistan also will have to accept the Indian position on the PoK. There are also some indications that Imran was summoned to Beijing last week to discuss this issue”. I do hope that things are moving slowly to that end.

Beijing must have by now come to the conclusion that they have no options but to accept Indian claims in the Pak Occupied Kashmir. Then there is a natural question, i.e., does it also mean that China had talked about this to the Pakistani leaders? The agenda of the recent Chinese discussion with Pak leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army and ISI chiefs should have been around this. Wang Yi has admitted that they had discussions with the Pak leaders by the Chinese President before embarking to India. He also said that not just Imran Khan, Army, ISI chiefs were there then in Chinese capital for the deliberations. Indo- Pak tension is known to all and Beijing is aware of it much better than any other. So no scope for discussing it further. Then what is there? That is the point to be taken note of; but everything in Xi’s mind may not have been revealed; but the fact that ‘India also has to be taken into confidence by China ‘ must have come up then before Pak leaders.

We all know that China’s head ache is the huge investment they had made in Pakistan in the China- Pak Economic corridor or the CPEC; the billions of dollars spent in Gwadar port too is not providing expected results for them. So they have to go on with the CPEC which passes through the PoK. Delhi’s stand in this regard is crystal clear, that is, the whole of Kashmir belongs to India and won’t accept any work by anyone there. This Indian stand is the major road block for the China, Don’t forget, Modi had raised the moves to construct the CPEC thro PoK without India’s consent, when Xi was here in Gujarat in 2014 itself. He had then explained the Indian stand on PoK too to the Chinese leader. So naturally, China now accepts, or rather forced to accept, the reality that without consent and co-operation of Delhi, they cannot fulfill their Pakistan dreams.

Now come to what China says about the Xi- Modi deliberations. Foreign minister says, ” President Xi Jinping had shared with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi his vision for the trilateral co-operation among Beijing, New Delhi and Islamabad”.

Just look closely at the words of Chinese minister. ” Xi Jinping stressed that the China sincerely expects sound China-India relations, China-Pakistan relations and India-Pakistan relations; he also says that they expects to see all sides work together to promote regional peace and stability, to achieve common development and prosperity”. We haven’t seen earlier any such concern for trilateral co- ordination coming out from the mouth of a Chinese leader. In fact, Beijing now starts to think of China- India- Pak co-operation. It is something that India has been expecting China to do. For them, the only interest is CPEC, But for Delhi, this move of our neighbor is so important; as I said in my earlier article, if China accepts that PoK belong to India, it is going to be an important diplomatic victory. for Modi’s India. More over, India will or should take a stand that they also be party to the agreement for the CPEC. My assessment is that China is now slowly taking things to that level.

It may not be easy for either China or Pakistan to openly declare that crucial decision at such a short notice; but they will have to. They cannot keep it in camera for long. That issue must have been discussed with Pak leaders by the Beijing. Let’s see how China presents that case now, in another way. They takes it as an extension of the present Indo- China- Afghan joint moves. They says about the Sino-Indian decision to have some joint projects in Afghanistan which was decided at Wuhan. “During the first informal summit’ in Wuhan, India and China had decided to work together on a project in Afghanistan which led to co-ordinated training of Afghan diplomats by India and China. The Chinese President, during his talks with Mr. Modi, had also proposed that “China and India should play a leading role in regional connectivity construction, and create a smoother connectivity network”. The Chinese Foreign Minister stressed that Xi had elaborated on enhancing the “China-India Plus” formulation, which could be gradually expanded to cover other countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa on the basis of the existing “China-India-Afghanistan” cooperation”. This ‘connectivity net work’ mentioned therein is nothing but CPEC,

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