China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What threat does it dispose for India's security? Critically examine.
The China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) seeks to connect the port of Gwadar in Pakistan to the Xinjiang region in China by means of highways, airways and railways, and also deploy pipeline to transport oil and gas. The corridor will not only connect China to Pakistan, but also act as a trade route for Chinese goods and commodities meant for the Middle East and Africa.
As part of the efforts to get the CPEC going, Pakistan and China are strengthening the infrastructure in this region. This has raised concerns in India as some of the road and rail links are being built through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). PoK borders China’s Xinjiang province which is considered to be relatively underdeveloped. Any effort to connect Xinjiang to Gwadar port will have to pass through PoK. India has raised objections because of the disputed status of the region. It is not acceptable for a sovereign country which is not even party to the existing dispute to enter the disputed territory and build infrastructure there. Increasing connectivity poses further risks for India’s security apparatus which is already struggling to protect its borders from infiltration. Xinjiang’s Muslim Uighur militants are believed to have connection to Al-Qaeda, thus, providing them also easy access to India via PoK is a major concern.