19 Nov 2017/ Sunday.
Amidst reports of China’s central bank warning of financial crisis and Pakistan turning down China’s offer of assistance for the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in POK, the Chinese ambassador to India has proposed a face saving measure. In an interaction with experts and students, Beijing’s envoy Luo Zhaohui suggested the alternative routes, and said he was keen on accomplishing a bilateral friendship and trade treaty during his tenure in India. Speaking on sidelines during an event at the Centre for Chinese and South-East Asian Studies in the School of Language, JNU, the Chinese Ambassador said,
“We can change the name of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor). Create an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns,”
Earlier India’s boycott of Belt and Road Forum sponsored by Chinese Government left China red faced in front of the world, who was sure of Indian participation. Since then in order to placate India, China has suggested change of name of POK portion of CPEC through many media channels. This is the first time a senior official has proposed a change in order to assuage Indian concerns.
Wary of Indo-Pacific Alliance, Chahabar Development and growing opposition to CPEC in Pakistan, the Chinese Government have intensified their efforts to engage India. China realizes that no economic activity in the region can be successful without India’s participation.
In November alone, two countries, Pakistan and Nepal, cancelled BRI infrastructure projects due to Beijing’s unacceptable conditions of full Chinese ownership and control. In Pakistan’s case, the now axed, US$14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project, represented approximately one-third of the total BRI investment in a country that has so far been the flagship for Xi’s plan. This confirms our previous assessment of CPEC being overly ambitious and unrealizable in nature.
The BRI which has been written, along with ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, into the CCP’s constitution at October’s party congress, has assumed gigantic proportions with CPC throwing its entire weight behind it. The recent developments are definitely a setback to BRI the dream project of Xi Jinping. China has realized for good, that India can no longer be excluded from any development in the Asia-Pacific, be it economic or security related.