Critically examine India's concerns regarding the recently launched CPEC project, while suggesting policy options for India.
The CPEC is a 15-year project between Pakistan and Chin aiming to connect Kashgar to Gwadar port via PoK through a network of highways, railways and oil and gas pipelines and fibre optic cables. Accessibility to Indian Ocean and beyond is guaranteed for China.
India’s main concern is the route’s passage through PoK, which we consider as our territory and construction of CPEC would further strengthen the Pakistan’s claim over the region.
Other concerns being-
1) China’s presence in may limit the India’s outreach to the Eurasian region.
2) Gwadar port gives impetus to China’s “String of Pearls”.
3) India feels CPEC is aimed to counter India’s ‘Act East’ policy and growing India-USA relations.
4) Infiltration of anti-India elements from Pakistan to India.
India has three options to tackle this issue:
- Oppose CPEC
- Participate in it
- Stay cool.
Second option is in India’s interest because a stable Pakistan is in India’s interest and would be fruitful for the IPI gas project. However, third option of staying calm and promoting our own “Spice Route” and “Mausam” projects could also seem ideal in India’s interest.
However, opposing is not the right option as it would send wrong message to both the nations wherein their retaliations could be more difficult to tackle with. (213 words)