In last three travels to China I have found that Chines people like their leadership aims to make China the potential Super Power in the world and are ready to sacrifice at any cost. They are hard working,dedicated,having high income and a good life style all due to social changes which took place over the time. China and its current leadership has launched very huge and optimistic multi billion dollar project to revive its old Silk Route which is also known as 'One Belt,One Road Initiative' 'Belt and Road Initiative' 'Silk Route' and few more names. The Belt and Road project have several parts like one towards South East Asia(Thailand,Indonesia,Malaysia, Singapore etc),another towards Burma,Bangladesh and India's North Eastern States. The third route is towards Middle East passing through Pakistan via India's J & K region and making Pakistan a commercial hub and close ally of China by investing half a dozen billion dollars. Fourth route is towards Eastern Europe passing and connecting CIS countries and Russia.There is also a fifth proposed route for Western Europe up till United Kingdom(London).
If China's all parts or even a couple of parts of this huge project gets success it will benefit China with trillions of dollars of trade and this story is dealing with one such part of Belt and Road project which passes through India's J & K to Pakistan and without informing to India about it. China wants few cities like Gwadar to be built like commercial hub no less than any other developed city of UAE or other Middle East country.
But this route of which first phase is to start a long route 30 hour bus service challenges India's sovereignty and India has launched a strong protest on this.
China’s one Belt one Road(OBOR),of which CPEC forms a significant part will be now launching a bus service connecting Xinjiang in its south west ,china with Lahore in Pakistan passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on November 13 under the china Pakistan economic corridor(CPEC) project ,which India has opposed.
The bus service is a part of $50 billion CPEC project. The luxury bus service will run between Lahore’s Gulberg area in Pakistan to Kashgar in china .The 30 hour journey will cost 13000 Pakistani rupees i.e INR Rs. 7,189 & will operated 4 times a week .Some reports says the launch is on 3 November 2018 while the other have given out 13 November 2018 as due date .CPEC is a planned network of road ,railway and energy projects linking china’s resource rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s Gwadar portion the Arabian sea .while the new bus service will be increasing ties between Pakistan and china but India has registered strong opposition against the project as the route of the bus service passes through the Indian territory.
Raveesh Kumar spokesperson of MEA said the proposed bus service violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity .He also said that India’s consistent and well known position is that the so called china-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963 is illegal and invalid and has never been recognized by the Government of India. Pakistan’s only link to china is through PoK Gligit-Baltistan region which is a part of J&K state of India.
When asked about India’s protest, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that he was not aware of India’s diplomatic stance on this matter .He also said that “It is an economic cooperation project between china and Pakistan and not targeted at any third party. It has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and it will not affect China’s principled position on the issue of Kashmir.”
India and China who had been in war in 1963 has come in eyeball to eyeball at many occasion but current proposed bus service will only escalate the tension between two neighboring countries.
(Ratnesh Dwivedi is India born Academic and Journalist currently engaged as Associate Professor of Journalism at Institute of Management Studies,Noida,India. Zainab Mohtaram is first year undergrad of Journalism with natural writing flavors and this is her first write for an International Platform)