New Delhi: India has expressed strong opposition to the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which is the key to Beijing’s ambitious ‘One-Belt, One-Road’ initiative, even as it slammed Islamabad for not taking concrete steps to stop crossborder terrorism.
“The CPEC passing through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir challenges Indian sovereignty,” said the Union defence ministry in its annual report submitted to Parliament on Wednesday.
In the past too, India has criticised the Chinese-funded CPEC, which links China’s Muslim dominated Xinjiang province to the Gwadar deep-sea port in Pakistan, because it passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in PoK, which New Delhi considers its own territory.
During the G-20 summit at Hangzhou in September last year, PM Narendra Modi had expressed India’s concerns over the CPEC in his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, holding that the two countries needed to be “sensitive” to each other’s strategic interests.
Taking note of China’s significant restructuring of its People’s Liberation Army to boost its offensive military capabilities, the defence ministry also reiterated India’s support for freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeached commerce, based on international laws in the contentious South China Sea.
New Delhi has taken to criticising Beijing’s strongarm tactics in the South China Sea, even as it slowly but steadily builds military ties with countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and others locked in territorial disputes with China in the region.
“India undertakes various activities, including cooperation in the oil and gas sector, with littoral states of South China Sea (Vietnam, for instance)…India believes that states should resolve disputes through peaceful means….,” said the MoD.
Turning to Pakistan, the MoD said: “Although the (Pakistani) military has made efforts to improve the security situation in the country, it has avoided taking action against jihadi and terror outfits that target Pakistan’s neighbours.”
“Support to such groups persists despite ongoing efforts by the international community, including India, to list the head of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammed, Masood Azhar, as an international terrorist,” it added.
“Such outfits continued to be encouraged to infiltrate into India under the cover of massive cross-LoC and cross-border firing in J&K and other areas throughout the year.
Pakistan-based terrorists attacked military bases in India, triggering an appropriate response by the Indian armed forces (the September 29 surgical strikes against terror launch pads in PoK),” it added.
As for the internal security situation in J&K, especially in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani in July last year, the MoD said it is currently tense but under control. “Relentless counter-terrorist operations by the Army, along with other security forces, in the hinterland have thwarted the plans of Pakistan to give a fillip to the proxy war being waged against India,” it said.