To Meet Indian Concerns, China Offers to Re-Name China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

lcafanboy

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To Meet Indian Concerns, China Offers to Re-Name China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
BY DEVIRUPA MITRA ON 08/05/20178 COMMENTS
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  • With the Belt and Road summit set for May 14-15, Chinese officials have increased their lobbying, through public diplomacy and behind closed doors, to get New Delhi to attend.

Chinese map marking out the important routes and cities involved in the Belt-Road Initiative.

New Delhi: Even as India shows no sign of changing its decision to keep off the international conference China has called for later this month to promote its flagship One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, Beijing has for the first time offered to re-name the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a key component of OBOR – to allay Indian objections.

The offer was made by the Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui in a speech to the United Service Institution (USI) here on Friday.

India’s main objection to the CPEC has been that it runs through Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of Jammu and Kashmir that is under Pakistani occupation. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the belt-road initiative, saying connectivity could not be allowed to undermine the country’s sovereignty. Last week, finance minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the same concerns. “I have no hesitation in saying we have some serious reservations about it (OBOR), because of sovereignty issues,” he told a media round-table in Tokyo.

At the closed door event on May 7, the Chinese envoy argued that his country had no “intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan”.

Stating that the CPEC is for promoting economic cooperation on connectivity, Luo claimed that it has “no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues”.

This is not a new argument from China. A similar point was made by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi last month at a media briefing about the forthcoming OBOR summit.

But in his speech, the Chinese ambassador floated a new offer as a possible solution to mitigate Indian concerns. China, he said “even can think about renaming the CPEC.”

What’s in a name?

To the extent to which the current name implies that the route of the corridor traverses the territory of only China and Pakistan – despite the fact that a portion of it runs through Indian territory occupied by Pakistan – a change of nomenclature might help alleviate Indian concerns about not conceding any ground on the question of sovereignty. However, New Delhi may take the view that a change of name matters little since the corridor will involve Chinese investments and projects on Indian territory that is under Pakistani occupation.

In any event, the re-naming of the CPEC – or even portions of it – could raise eyebrows in Pakistan, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has promoted the $51 billion project as the key economic “game-changer” from his term in office. The Pakistani military establishment, which is a key stakeholder in the corridor, also sees enormous strategic value from the corridor and may baulk at any symbolic Chinese gesture towards Indian concerns.


Ambasasdor Lui Zhaohui. Credit: Couvrette/Ottawa
www.couvrette-photography.on.ca

With the Belt and Road summit set for May 14-15, Chinese officials have increased their lobbying, through public diplomacy and behind closed doors, to get New Delhi to attend.

“China and India have had successful experience of delinking sovereignty disputes with bilateral relations before. In history, we have had close cooperation along the ancient Silk Road. Why shouldn’t we support this kind of cooperation today? In a word, China is sincere in its intention to cooperate with India on the OBOR, as it is good for both of us,” said the Chinese ambassador. The text of the speech was released by the Chinese embassy after the USI event.

Chinese officials have previously pointed out that Japan was sending a senior ruling party official to the summit, even though Tokyo cannot by any stretch of the imagination be termed a supporter of OBOR.

Indian officials have been cool to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s One-Belt, One-Road (OBOR) initiative from the beginning, viewing it more as a strategic and political endeavour to gain footholds in key regions through infrastructure projects.

China’s four-point proposal

Luo proposed that the two Asian giants could “actively explore the feasibility of aligning China’s “One Belt One Road Initiative” (OBOR) and India’s “Act East Policy”.

This was suggested by the Chinese envoy in a four-point “long term vision for China-India relations”. The other three points were to begin negotiation on a China-India treaty of good neighbourliness and friendly cooperation, restart talks on the China-India Free Trade Agreement and “strive for an early harvest on the border issue”.

Pushing for the flagship agreement, Luo said, “On the diplomatic front, India has put forward the “Act East Policy”, “Spice Route” etc, and a number of regional connectivity initiatives, as well as vigorously pushed forward the BIMSTEC. As close neighbours, China and India could be natural partners in connectivity and the OBOR”.

Recently, India’s former national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon wrote in The Wire that with in-built riders over sovereignty, India could explore the opportunity of the Belt and Road initiative to see if “portions” could serve Indian interest in improving connectivity and economic integration.

Chinese push for Indian growth

The Chinese ambassador made another case for India to consider the economic opportunities provided by Beijing, especially since the Indian economy was behind China by at least 13 years.

He suggested that the current global environment may not enable India to meet its growth requirement and New Delhi would therefore, require the support of China to take its economic trajectory upwards.

Citing India’s “disadvantages”, Luo said, “the current trend of anti-globalisation and anti-free trade is not in line with India’s open-up efforts”.

He also said that India’s neighbourhood was “different” from China’s, which benefits from proximity to Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

The Chinese ambassador even cited Indian democracy as a handicap. “China and India differ in political systems and China enjoys stronger policy consistency. India’s political system has its own advantages but sometimes may cause fluctuations in its policies or at least in its pace of development. As soon as China set reform and opening-up as its centre task, the whole nation is in full sail,” he said.

The Indian bureaucracy also got the thumbs down from Luo. “After I came to India, one of my impressions is that some bureaucrats of India, to a certain extent, could not catch up with the pace of its politicians. Some policies are implemented too slowly”. However, the states, the ambassador noted, “are keener on attracting investments and expanding trade relations with foreign countries”.

He said that OBOR could provide “India and other regional countries with important opportunities”.

‘China’s 1963 agreement with Pakistan took care of India’s concerns’

Last month in Mumbai, the Chinese deputy chief of mission Liu Jinsong had said at a conference on OBOR that any connectivity link between China and Pakistan had to “unavoidably” pass through PoK. “It’s known to all that such transportation could not detour through India and Afghanistan,” he said.

Liu even asserted that CPEC’s traverse through PoK is “no fresh news for India” as there was already the Karakoram-Kunlun road built in the 1960s.

Further, the Chinese diplomat had urged India to “study carefully” the 1963 agreement between China and Pakistan. “The title and content of this agreement have fully accommodated India’s concern,” he said, specifically referring to Article 6 of the 1963 agreement, which referred to the need for China and Pakistan to re-negotiate their boundary after the “settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India”.

Two weeks after Liu’s Mumbai remarks, the Chinese ambassador also propounded that Indian media reports of Beijing having a Pakistan-first policy in South Asia were “not true”. “Simply put, we always put China first and we deal with problems based on their own merits,” he noted.

He reminded his audience that China had modified its position on Kashmir from support for UN resolutions till the 1990s to support for a “settlement through bilateral negotiation in line with the Simla Agreement”.

“This is an example of China taking care of India’s concern. Today few Indian friends remember this episode, or they have chosen to forget it,” said the Chinese ambassador.

‘Common fight against terrorism’

When it comes to regional stability, Luo said that China was “willing to mediate when India and Pakistan have problems”. “But the precondition is that both India and Pakistan accept it,” he added.

Luo pointed out that as China’s ambassador to Pakistan during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, “I did a lot of mediation at that time”.

Referring to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, he reiterate the Chinese line that Beijing did not oppose India’s membership, but believed that a “standard for admission should be agreed first”.

The Chinese envoy did not specifically refer to another recent dispute – Beijing’s technical hold over the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed supremo Maulana Masood Azhar on the UN terror list – but he implicitly acknowledged this difference by dwelling at some length 0n China’s stance against terrorism and Chinese-India counter-terror cooperation..

Describing China as a “victim of terrorism”, he said that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was “still creating trouble for us today, and we are ready to step up counter-terrorism cooperation with India and Pakistan”.

He also added that his tenure in Islamabad made him realise that Pakistan “also suffered seriously from terrorism”.

“What I want to say is, first, China strongly opposes terrorism; second, China is ready to work with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the international community in fighting terrorism, and believes that terrorism knows no borders; third, countries need to have compatible policies, consensus and actions in fighting terrorism,” said Luo.

Interestingly, the only issue that the Chinese ambassador did not mention in his speech, but which Chinese officials have repeatedly stressed, both in Delhi and Beijing, was that of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

When the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh last month, China had significantly raised its rhetoric over the trip, despite New Delhi’s assertion that the Tibetan spiritual leader had travelled to that part of India several times earlier. After the Dalai Lama’s visit to the north-east, the Chinese envoy also made a trip to Assam to talk about regional connectivity.
https://thewire.in/133138/china-pakistan-india-obor/

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Screambowl

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map looks impressive.
If only India was little bit concerned about the economy.

See what China is doing just to get ports, and look at us. Being in the middle of Ocean how great the connectivity India could have built.
 

abingdonboy

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map looks impressive.
If only India was little bit concerned about the economy.

See what China is doing just to get ports, and look at us. Being in the middle of Ocean how great the connectivity India could have built.
Give it time, China has a 20 year head start on India and an economy 6-7 times larger than India's with ENOURMOUS clout on the regional and global stage.

Yes, India shouldn't be left behind and can't afford to be but it is playing catch up and one needs to understand its limitations.
 

Screambowl

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Give it time, China has a 20 year head start on India and an economy 6-7 times larger than India's with ENOURMOUS clout on the regional and global stage.

Yes, India shouldn't be left behind and can't afford to be but it is playing catch up and one needs to understand its limitations.
In India it's not possible. Because of Mafia. Every business gets into the hands of Mafia. Be it land mafia, mining mafia, petro mafia. Due to lose industrial laws.
China has strong industrial laws.
 

raja696

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If china can help India take back GB with out any fuss.... yes Indians will consider china to supply route through our country and name it as India-baluchistan-china economic corridor IBCEC.

And pak punjabis living with baluchistan country and sindhu countries peacefully.
 
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sayareakd

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If name of CPEC is change, entire Pakistan will suffer heart attack, as their only game changer would be name changers.

Imagine just to appease India, they are ready to Change name.

Higher then mountains, deeper then oceans and sweeter then honey is actually shallow bottom, because of commercial interest rates for CPEC loans. They are not true friend, they are mao-capitalist-imperialistic.
 

Screambowl

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If name of CPEC is change, entire Pakistan will suffer heart attack, as their only game changer would be name changers.

Imagine just to appease India, they are ready to Change name.

Higher then mountains, deeper then oceans and sweeter then honey is actually shallow bottom, because of commercial interest rates for CPEC loans. They are not true friend, they are mao-capitalist-imperialistic.
Porkis are another fools. China used them to get the port, they gave them the port. Rest of the projects are not China's concern.
 

sayareakd

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Porkis are another fools. China used them to get the port, they gave them the port. Rest of the projects are not China's concern.
You see at max port would be used for oil movement in war, but USA, if they could block south China sea, then with 14 AC they could block Gwadar with ease. Only trade which might take place is goods sold to africa, that does not generate volume to coollect good toll tax for Pak.
 

busesaway

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I would not support any effort by China to economically or diplomatically support Pakistan. It needs to cut all ties with the nation and literally build a wall along its border - I actually expect China to take violent action against Xinjiang!

I also think that there needs to be more done to combat some of the injustices being created by China, such as its funding for Maoists, or it's lack of respect for a culturally Tibetan Tibet, or even its lack of respect for the borders of India!

+ I enjoy how traditionalist China is in regards to its culture. I enjoy the little quirks like "silk road" and other historically Chinese traditions. We should do the same in India.
 

Screambowl

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Heard, China has asked Pakistan to charge its name as, Pakistan is too Islamic.
B'desh and Afghanistan also must force Pakistan to become Kufr Nation to facilitate communist China :)

You see at max port would be used for oil movement in war, but USA, if they could block south China sea, then with 14 AC they could block Gwadar with ease. Only trade which might take place is goods sold to africa, that does not generate volume to coollect good toll tax for Pak.
Oil movement and to watch USN movement. This is why US is now more active in South CS.
 

lcafanboy

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They have got some serious economic problems due to debts and overcapacity which they want to sell and only buyer in the world is India. No other country in the world has as much population as India. So they can't ignore or go against India. Also, they have over $62B in investment and $80b in annual trade with India at stake if they support Pakistan.
 
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roma

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If china can help India take back GB with out any fuss.... yes Indians will consider china to supply route through our country and name it as ............
And pak punjabis living with baluchistan country and sindhu countries peacefully.
If name of CPEC is change, entire Pakistan will suffer heart attack, as their only game changer would be name changers.
Imagine just to appease India, they are ready to Change name.
Higher then mountains, deeper then oceans and sweeter then honey is actually shallow bottom, because of commercial interest rates for CPEC loans. They are not true friend, they are mao-capitalist-imperialistic.
interesting development

we should ask a couple of questions
(1) why ? - does in fact china nee india s help in something ? are they trying to get us into loan trap like pakistan is in ? do they really eed indian investment ? ( hard to believe ) or are they afraid that they are v vulnerable from india in times of conflict ? or are they getting us to invest so that in times of comnflict we woud have to think twice ?

(2) if it is conflict related ( only )= then i think we shoul give this a cautious thubs up ...but no lo accepting any loans or projets or investent ...we dont need their loan trap neither to invest ..... what we could hope to do is get our troops in GB .....

that is to say we will get involved but our personnel must be in there and our population must be allowed to live in GB and "share" neighbourhood with Gilgit-ites and baltistanis even have a few chinese as well ..... if that's the case then i think it could be possible

i think we should keep a window open on this matter , not that we agree but we should be willing to talk and have some conditions that we help us leverage our demographiscs to win in that scenario

(3) as for the name change - it think we should go for it - remove the china-pak name link will give the pak a hit down to reality ! it will diminish them like nothing --- even a neutral name like OBOR would be a lot better than cpec

(4) also we can get them to move back a fair bit in aksai chin region - yes we should bring that into the discussion as we ....give us the panggong lake and better acess to rives soures , ok we can allow this OBOR and have a new relationship with china free of the past ....not that we trust them , we silll still do our atomic research and one finger will STILL BE ON THE TRIGGER because we know who weerre dealing with , but for economic cooperation we can consider if they give at lease some serious land devolution in aksai area and pull back

(5) we should also have measure to even out teh balance of trade imbalance with china otherwise if this obor might actually increase that imbalance ---- then no thanks we dont want it !!!

(6) yes china influence in GB might actually have cleansing effect on militant jihadis not just in GB but also in the kashmir valley

anyway , ........yeah lets at least talk to this Liu fella ! ....no harm talking , but unless they give something really substantial , then no thanks !
 
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Srinivas_K

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India has its own plans, India sees China as an export market.

Only bilateral agreements are welcome, we have our own trade routes. If India and China want to trade India will build a corridor through Himalayas.
 

roma

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found this on another forum ( and it kindof answers my question 1 plus suupports my AC to be at least partially returned comments )

Chopra TP10 hours ago
India should not join OBOR or any such China expansion programs until china gives India Aksai Chin and other occupied land back and admits India into UNSC & NSG. China is a debt riddled, bloated economy with serious overcapacity. It needs Indian Market if it wants any hope of keeping its export economy afloat. Otherwise the debt alone will take china down. Let them sell their stuff to Pakistan.

I would be satisfied with partial return of aksai china ( i.e. china can keep the connection road they built , we take the rest with guarantee of respecting their road ) plus return shagsam valley ..... and we dont need their support in UNSC or NSG , those we can earn o our own merit at the right time !

anything less than substantial retun of territories, we are not interested

plus redress the balance of trade deficit to be equal and not lobsided as it currently is

and on a lighter note :biggrin2: the main reason why china want s to rename it is that if you notice carefully and pronounce it fast cpec sounds like "cockup" corridor :laugh::rofl:
 
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AmoghaVarsha

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1.Why are the Chinese so desperate to get us into OBOR?

2.Is the Chinese economy really that bloated and in poor shape?

3.Chinese will stop UN sanctions on Masood Azhar.Stop Indias entry into NSG.Expect us to join OBOR.Is opium legal in China?
 

ezsasa

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1.Why are the Chinese so desperate to get us into OBOR?
This article is coming exactly a 24 hours after arun jaitley said in a ADB meeting that CPEC is a sovereignty issue for india. safe to assume that, china recognises this as a problem.

3.Chinese will stop UN sanctions on Masood Azhar.Stop Indias entry into NSG.Expect us to join OBOR.Is opium legal in China?
these are negotiation tactics. good thing Modi did not buckle yet.
 

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