Two questions in the context of the above theme are important. What does China’s interest in the region, especially the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mean for Indo-Pak relations? And more importantly, from a sub-regional perspective, what does it mean for J&K, especially Gilgit and Baltistan?
China’s interests in the region are not limited to Pakistan. While the China lovers in India see Beijing as the next super power with a benign Panda approach, those suspicious see it as a predatory dragon trying to satiate its own thirst. Perhaps, there is an element of truth in both the views.
In the recent years, Beijing has been attempting to reach out every single country in South Asia, including India. China has made substantial investments all over South Asia and sees the region as a potential market for its huge manufacturing output. If it does not continue growing with this pace, China would start declining and will have substantial domestic repercussion.
China sees South Asia as a market and also as a transit point. A cursory look at the Chinese Silk routes and belts would reveal that the primary target is across South Asia into West Asia, Europe and Africa. While the land route across Central Asia is an option for China, it wants multiple routes criss-crossing South Asia and Southeast Asia. Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar assume importance in this context. Multiple pipelines, road links and rail networks are being built all the way to Kathmandu, Gwadar, Chittagong and Yangon.
This article has appeared in the Rising Kashmir
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