India irked over Pak's move on Gilgit

India irked over Pak's move on Gilgit

New Delhi to protest elevation of status

India irked over Pak's move on Gilgit

A new irritant has suddenly emerged in India’s ties with Pakistan, at a time when terror attacks at Pathankot in Punjab already cast a shadow over New Delhi’s peace initiative with its neighbour.

This time, it is about a territory of Kashmir, which Islamabad, prodded by Beijing, is set to formally declare a part of Pakistan, ostensibly for legitimising China’s role in developing infrastructure in the region.

New Delhi is set to protest Islamabad’s move to elevate the status of Gilgit-Baltistan – a region in the parts of Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan.

Islamabad is set to formally recognize Gilgit-Baltistan as its territory in the Constitution of Pakistan. Reports from Islamabad indicated that the constitutional recognition of Gilgit Baltistan would bring the mountainous region one step closer to being formally absorbed as a province of Pakistan. 

Sources said that New Delhi had taken note of Islamabad’s move to recognize Gilgit-Baltistan in the Constitution of Pakistan in order to give a semblance of legitimacy to its occupation over parts of Kashmir.

New Delhi is learnt to be viewing the move as an attempt by Beijing and Islamabad to blunt India’s opposition to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is set to pass through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan. 

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

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.

Officials told Deccan Herald that New Delhi would convey to  Islamabad that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and any project undertaken by Pakistan – either on its own or in cooperation with China or any other country – in the territory under its “illegal occupation” would have “no legal basis and is completely unacceptable”.

The latest move by Islamabad comes at a time when recent attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists on Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab cast a shadow over proposed resumption of the parleys between the two neighbouring nations.