Islamabad, Jul 26 (PTI) Pakistan on Tuesday termed as “baseless and misguided” India’s stand on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying attempts to cast aspersions over the multi-billion dollar connectivity corridor show New Delhi’s “insecurity and pursuit of a hegemonic agenda.” India on Tuesday slammed China and Pakistan for their efforts to encourage third countries to join projects relating to their multi-billion dollar connectivity corridor that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
In a sharp reaction, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said such activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are “inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable”, and will be treated accordingly by India.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office in a statement termed India’s comments as “baseless and misguided” and an effort to politicise the CPEC.
The FO said that “the CPEC is a transformational project and a harbinger of stability, mutual cooperation and shared development for the region.” “As a flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative and hallmark of the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, CPEC provides a vehicle for the people of the region to break from zero-sum approaches,” it said.
China’s investment in CPEC has helped Pakistan overcome the energy and infrastructural bottlenecks that once constrained growth and development, it added.
“Attempts to cast aspersions over CPEC show India’s insecurity as well as the pursuit of a hegemonic agenda that has held back socio-economic development in South Asia for decades,” said the FO.
Rejecting India’s “fallacious assertion” that CPEC impinges on its “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, the Foreign Office said that it is in fact India that is “illegally occupying Kashmir for over seven decades while perpetrating gross and widespread human rights violations”.
New Delhi has consistently been critical of projects in the so-called CPEC projects which are in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.” At a meeting of the CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination on Friday, Pakistan and China decided to welcome interested third countries to join the flagship CPEC initiative.
The CPEC was launched in 2013 to improve Pakistan’s road, rail and energy transportation infrastructure besides connecting its deep-sea port of Gwadar with China’s Xinjiang province.
The CPEC is part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
India has been severely critical of the BRI as CPEC is part of the initiative.