Sunday, 24 March 2019

CPEC: What Bothers India?

  • March 6, 2019

By Safi Nasim
China has quickly emerged as a an economic giant in the last couple of decades. It has surpassed Japan and achieved the status of the world’s second-largest economy after America. In order to keep its huge economy lubricated China requires copious amounts of black crude. Thus, China has the great thirst for hydrocarbon I resources especially Middle Eastern oil. Regarding energy security, China is very c curious because of the dominance of America around the Middle East. Along with it, the US has a strong hold on the main sea lanes of communication of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This, of course, creates a dilemma for Beijing. The Strait of Malacca is under strong influence of ‘the US, which is a very significant choke point in the Indo-Pacific Sea lane of communication, from where almost 80pc of crude oil transported to Chinese ports. American presence around the strait is creating serious dilemma for China which is called “The Malacca Dilemma”. In order to deal with Malacca Dilemma China has initiated the Belt and Road project in 2013 and under that project China has to de elop six economic corridors under Belt and Road.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is known as flagship project of Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Imran Khan’s visit to China in November last year the project is gaining new heights. The newly elected government in Pakistan has vision to broaden the scope and level of CPEC developmental projects. Agriculture and livestock and socio economic development are also included in the CPEC projects. According to leading experts on geopolitics and geo-economics, CPEC is a game changer project for south Asia. It will change the geopolitical as well as geostrategic landscape of South Asia and China will emergence as a key stakeholder in Indian Ocean Region and it will ultimately hurt the balance of power in the region especially it will a clear challenge for Indian hegemonic designs in the region.
If we critically analyse the situation regarding Chinese investments in Pakistan and other South Asian countries, India seems to be under extreme pressure. India keeps a strict watch over China’s developments. India is cautious and suspicious enough over every Chinese moves in Pakistan. It is because of India China relations that the both countries are emerging economies and have not a good history in strategic realm. Both have fought a war in 1962 and engaged in many skirmishes. So under this background, India perceives China’s ventures in South Asia a threat thus pursuing antagonist diplomacy. It is attempting its best to disrupt and damage China-Pakistan cordiality. With Modi’s declared anti Pakistan policy, India was struggling to isolate Pakistan at regional and world levels. However, as India got disappointed to observe that due to the construction of the CPEC, Pakistan was getting popular at the regional and world levels. lndia does not want China to enhance its trade and investment in other countries through the connectivity t be facilitated by the CPEC. Since India considers itself as a competitor to China at regional and world levels, it does not want China to further advance in economic diplomacy based on CPEC-related connectivity.
Without the shadow of doubt, CPEC is the real competitor of India. Indian strategic and economic ambitions are under challenge because of Chinese ventures in the region. Realistically speaking, Indian intelligentsia and policy making circles are not able to study the emerging scenario. It will be highly favourable and fruitful for India if it joins CPEC. In fact it is an opportunity for India to boost its economy and uplift its deprived masses. But, it is quite infelicitous that India is looking towards the whole region with the optics of Saffron Terrorism and Arthashastra, which is clear and present danger for regional peace and stability.

The writer is a political analyst; views expressed by him are entirely his own.

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