China - Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and India UPSC IAS Target

China - Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and India UPSC

01 Oct 2019

Category : International Relations

Topic: China - Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and India UPSC

On 1 April 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to begin diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Nehru visited China in October 1954. While, the India- China border dispute in 1962 was a somber setback to ties. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 started a phase of improvement in bilateral relations. In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the India-China Border Areas during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit reflected the upward stability and substance in bilateral ties.
India-China relations, though rarely showing signs of peace and cooperation, have often been afflicted by tension and mistrust. With the potential to make big contributions to regional peace and development, these two Asian powers have, by design or accident, themselves been the sources of regional insecurity and stress to some extent. Besides their internal dynamics, the interplay of interests and moves of their neighbours, and several external powers would have a significant bearing on the equation and ties between them.

India and China-border conflicts

Western Sector (Disputed) This comprises the Aksai Chin sector. This region which originally was a part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir is alleged by China as part of its autonomous Xinjiang region. After the 1962 war, it was occupied by China and administered by China. However, it is an uninhabited land. While India claims the entire Aksai Chin territory as well as the Shaksgam valley (Indian territory gifted to China by Pakistan), China challenges Indian control over Daulat Beg Oldi (in Leh, south of Aksai China)
Central Sector Although China has understood India’s sovereignty over Sikkim and had started the trade at Nathu La pass, the Doklam fiasco could mean trouble at all ends. So, this region is comparatively calm and no conflicts b/w both armies as we have seen in other border areas.
Eastern Sector (Disputed) The Arunachal Pradesh border that China still claims to be its own territory is the largest disputed area, covering around 90000 sq. km. It was formally called North-East Frontier Agency. During the 1962 war, the People’s Liberation Army occupied it but they declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew respecting the international boundary (Mcmahon Line). However, it has continued to assert it’s alleging over the territory. These days, almost the whole of Arunachal is being claimed by China. The visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang monastery in this region is not liked by china and later becomes a contentious bilateral issue.

China's block India entry into popular institution

China has constantly blocked India’s entry into UNSC and NSG. China wants NSG entry to be norm-based — in other words, whatever rules govern Indian entry should apply to others too. Norm-based entry is a tactful move by China for the entry of Pakistan into NSG, presumably, helps Pakistan gain entry, something many in the NSG are certain to resist because of the country’s record as a proliferator of nuclear-weapons technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Despite India’s reservations on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, Pakistan and China are moving ahead with the project. India’s reservations on the project have so far gone unheeded. Intermeshed as the CPEC is with the principle of territorial sovereignty; the project is emerging as a focal point of India’s strategic priorities. Of late, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has started to figure prominently in India’s policy repositioning. Also, India’s stance on CPEC has graduated from one of calculated silence to that of diplomatic resistance.
The 3,000-km corridor connecting China’s far-western region to Pakistan’s southwestern Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a massive project of road, energy schemes, rail, pipelines, and investment parks. The corridor is also supposed to serve as a terminal for China to pump oil procurement from the Persian Gulf. It is also being seen as a project to reinforce China’s connectivity with neighbouring countries and an initiative set to help strategic framework for pragmatic cooperation b/w the nations.
The corridor would change Pakistan into a regional hub and give China a shorter and cheaper route for trade with much of Asia, Africa, and West Asia. The corridor will pass through Pakistan’s poor Baluchistan province, where a long-running separatist insurgency that the army has promised to crush will raise questions about the feasibility of the plan.

India reservation on CPEC

India opposed CPEC because any Indian participation would inextricably be connected to the country’s legitimate claims on PoK. CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will weaken India’s influence in the Indian Ocean. It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with Pakistan and China and has a history of dispute with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of disputation that continue to ruin India’s equations with China and Pakistan. If China wants India to participate in CPEC, it should respect the territorial sovereignty of India. So it is anticipated that China would have some understanding of other people’s sensitivity to their sovereignty if they are sensitive to their country's sensitivity. Meanwhile, India must uphold its specific reservations on the project and draft a strategy to revert suitably in case CPEC is offered formally through official channels.