Chinese scholars ‘deeply disturbed’ by PM Modi’s reference to Balochistan

BEIJING: Chinese scholars are “deeply disturbed” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent reference to Balochistan , a senior expert on Sunday said as he warned of joint steps by China and Pakistan if an “Indian factor” disrupts the $46 billion CPEC, with the region as its hub.

“My personal view is that if India is adamant and if Indian factor is found by China or Pakistan in disrupting the process of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), if that becomes a reality, it will really become a disturbance to China-India relations, India-Pakistan relations,” South Asia expert Hu Shisheng said.

“If that happens China and Pakistan could have no other way but take united steps. I want to say that the Pakistan factor could surge again to become the most disturbing factor in China-India relations, even more than the Tibet, border and trade imbalance issues,” he told PTI here.

Hu, director of state-run think-tank Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations affiliated to the Chinese foreign ministry, said such a scenario could be very disappointing to all the scholars relating to India-China relations.

“All the three countries could be badly derailed from their current facts of economic and social development. It could be very bad,” he said.

Expressing concern over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to the human rights situation in Balochistan in his Independence Day address , he said Chinese scholars were “deeply disturbed by the reference”.

The Chinese foreign ministry has so far has not commented on Modi’s references to Balochistan, which is the hub of CPEC connecting China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan.

“I think the two countries (China and Pakistan) will do whatsoever to enhance the security and smooth construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But what kind of forms I have no idea.

“I am just wondering whether military involvement could be one of the choice but in my personal view, it is very unlikely,” he said in response to a question on the nature of China’s involvement and maintained that the views are his personal made in the interest of India-China relations.

He also said China is unlikely to change its policy in South Asia.

Besides a host of energy-related projects, the CPEC consists of rail, road and pipelines to ferry oil and gas from Balochistan port Gwadar to Kashghar in Xinjiang through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Welcoming the formation of the special mechanism for talks during Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to India to resolve differences, Hu said the two sides can hold wide-ranging talks on CPEC, NSG and India’s bid to ban Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar in the UN.

He also said that CPEC is “for the regional stability”.

“This is also China’s purpose to carry forward with this giant project jointly with Pakistan. If CPEC is completed not only China and Pakistan but also Afghanistan, India and Iran can benefit a lot.

“It is quite open. In future, some Indian regional development initiatives can use the physical development of CPEC like India’s connectivity to the Central and West Asia, Gulf region, India’s projects in Chabahar port in Iran,” he said.

He claimed the CPEC will not disturb the sovereignty claim of Pakistan and India in the Kashmir issue.

“It is quite clearly written in the 1963 border treaty of Pakistan and China. One of the clause clearly stated that if Pakistan and India finally reach agreement on Kashmir issue then the treaty would be accordingly amended.

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