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China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in restive Balochistan

Hu noted the growing defence cooperation between India and the US was also a worrying factor of China

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Nathu La Pass, India China border. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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– by Gaurav Sharma

Beijing, August 28, 2016: China will have “to get involved” if any Indian “plot” disrupts the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in restive Balochistan, an influential Chinese think tank has warned India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to Balochistan in his Independence Day speech is the “latest concern” for China and among its scholars, Hu Shisheng, the Director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), told IANS in a freewheeling interview.

The researcher, at one of China’s most powerful think tanks, which is affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, also said India’s growing military ties with the US and its changed attitude on the disputed South China Sea are ringing alarm bells for China.

“The latest concern for China is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort in which he referred to the issues like Kashmir (occupied by Pakistan) and Balochistan,” Hu said.

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“It could be regarded as a watershed moment in India’s policy towards Pakistan. Why Chinese scholars are concerned is because this is for the first time India has mentioned it,” he added.

Hu said China fears India may use “anti-government” elements in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan where Beijing is building the $46 billion CPEC — a key to the success of its ambitious One Road One Belt project.

“There is concern that India may take the same approach, which is believed by the Indian side Pakistan is taking, asymmetrically using anti-government factors in Pakistan,” Hu said on the expansive and leafy campus of CICIR.

“If this kind of plot causes damage to the CPEC, China will have to get involved,” he said, referring to the alleged involvement of India in backing separatists in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The ongoing CPEC will connect China’s largest province, Xinjiang, with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan, hit by rebels and separatists. India has strongly opposed the corridor as it will pass through Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir which it claims as its own.

Islamabad has long accused India of fomenting trouble in this region — a charge denied by New Delhi.

However, Modi’s reference to the region, experts say, is a signal to Pakistan that New Delhi could raise tensions in the region as a tit for tat for Pakistan’s backing for terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

“This will not help Pakistan to become a normal country. And it will also further disturb India-China relations,” Hu pointed out.

ChinaPakistanEconomicCorridor Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
ChinaPakistanEconomicCorridor
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hu noted the growing defence cooperation between India and the US was also a worrying factor of China.

“In the past, China was not so much concerned about India’s security cooperation with other countries, especially with the US. But now Chinese scholars can feel the concern,” Hu said.

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He said the defence cooperation between New Delhi and Washington had increased significantly after Modi took over as Prime Minster.

He also referred to US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to India in April during which both the countries agreed in principle to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

“There is a renewal of defence and technological cooperation (between India and the US) for another 10 years, enhancing the cooperation under the framework of DTTI (Defence Technology and Trade Initiative),” Hu added.

“This is an alarming signal to China. It is a concern for China,” the expert said.

He also said India will have to resist pressure exerted by the US and Japan to join them in countering China. “We also know that the US and Japan, as well as Australia, are very keen on getting India in their camp. They are also exerting pressure”.

“They are also luring India by giving high-technology deals and advanced military weapons. It is up to India whether India can resist this kind of temptation,” Hu said.

India’s involvement in the South China Sea dispute was another irritant in the already strained relationship between India and China, Hu added.

“In the past, India’s stand on the South China Sea was impartial. Indian is getting more and more involved. This attitude is another concern for China,” noted Hu.

“We know that India has a national interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and aviation, but China in the past has done nothing to block the so-called freedom of navigation.”

“Our problem is with the US. We can see India is becoming more vocal in issuing joint statements with the US and Japan on the South China Sea,” he added.

A UN court in July rejected China’s claims over the so-called Nine-Dash line — which covers almost 90 percent of the contested South China Sea — and backed the Philippines which has overlapping claims in the oil and natural gas-rich waters, which are also partly claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Beijing rejected the verdict as “illegal”.

India, 55 per cent of whose trade passes through the Strait of Malacca that opens into the South China Sea, has asked the parties to peacefully resolve the dispute and show utmost respect to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea. (IANS)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.