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  Opinion   Edit  11 May 2017  China’s ‘offer’ meaningless

China’s ‘offer’ meaningless

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 11, 2017, 3:16 am IST
Updated : May 11, 2017, 3:16 am IST

It gives Beijing a major seafront in the Gulf and the western Indian Ocean.

Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui, accompanied by delegation, visits a commemorative exhibition on Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis titled
 Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui, accompanied by delegation, visits a commemorative exhibition on Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis titled "Legacy of Legend 2017" in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

The purported offer made by China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui at a talk in New Delhi recently to change the name of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor if India agreed to participate in the Beijing conference next month on its much-touted One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) mega-infrastructure project, and to join the scheme, is for the birds.

The CPEC, that links China to Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) over Indian objections. Changing the CPEC’s name, supposedly in deference to Indian sensitivities, doesn’t change this substantive reality and certainly doesn’t address India’s concerns.

There is another serious dimension that India, or for that matter the Western powers, can ill afford to dismiss. The CPEC, a key element of OBOR, is a geostrategic move for China, not one of developing economic connectivity, as it would like the world to innocently believe.

It gives Beijing a major seafront in the Gulf and the western Indian Ocean, that will be a commercial harbour as well as a military port where warships can be docked. What interest can India possibly have to participate in the building of China’s geostrategic muscle and have a Chinese flotilla at its doorstep?

The sweeteners that Mr Luo throws in — linking India’s Look East policy to OBOR, a free trade area between India and China, and the signing of a treaty on good neighbourliness — are passé, and aren’t new. It is well known that the signing of the Panchsheel agreement did not prevent a Chinese land attack on India in 1962.

Tags: luo zhaohui, china-pakistan economic corridor, pakistan-occupied kashmir