India protests against China's role in PoK

India protests against China's role in PoK

India for the first time registered its protest at the United Nations against China’s role in building infrastructure in Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.

New Delhi registered its protest while exercising its Right of Reply to Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif’s remarks on Kashmir at United Nations General Assembly.

“India’s reservations about the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor stem from the fact that it passes through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan for many years,” Abhishek Singh, First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India at UN headquarters in New York, told the General Assembly. Though New Delhi on several occasions conveyed to Beijing its reservation about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, this is the first time it registered its protest at an international forum.

The proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will link Kashgar in Xinjiang in northwestern China and a deep sea port at Gwadar in Balochistan in southern Pakistan.

In his speech at the UNGA on Wednesday, Sharif lauded China’s proactive role in promoting peace and prosperity in the region. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, announced during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan earlier this year will spur regional economic integration and bring prosperity to the entire region and beyond,” he said.

Beijing is understood to be planning to spend over $46 billion for a series of infrastructure projects along the proposed economic corridor, which passes through areas, which India accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying.

The proposed projects include upgrading Karakoram Highway and construction of a 487 kilometres long highway from Raikot in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to Islamabad – both by China Road and Bridge Corporation.  The Chinese government also launched a preliminary study on the feasibility of a project to lay an 1800-km-long rail-line to link Kashgar in China and Gwadar Port on the southwestern coast of Pakistan through the PoK. The Overseas Port Holding Company of China recently took over management of the commercial port in Gwadar, which was being used by Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy. The port is perceived as part of the “String of Pearls” – a series of strategic assets China is acquiring around India.

New Delhi’s strong objection to Chinese involvement in infrastructure and other projects in PoK was conveyed to Beijing “at the highest level” during Chinese President’s visit to India last year and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China early this year.

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