`India, Afghanistan play key role in Pak-China corridor

Last Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 - 20:37

Beijing: Pakistan`s internal security situation as well as its relations with India and Afghanistan will play a key role in the proposed USD 18-billion China-Pakistan economic corridor, according to a think-tank.

The 2,000-km corridor connecting China`s Xinjiang province with Pakistan`s Gwadar port involves railways, highways and oil and gas pipelines, said Li Wei, director of the Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies that is attached to the State Interior Security Ministry.

"Generally speaking, the security situation in Pakistan is very important for Pakistan for the establishment of the corridor and also the security situation in the neighbouring countries and Pakistan`s relations with the neighbouring countries," Li said at an interaction with the foreign media arranged by the state-run All China Journalists Association here.

"The establishment of the corridor will come a long way in boosting the economic and security environment in this region. There are three important countries in this region, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. So these economic corridors will exhert very positive impact in boosting trade ties among these three countries," he said.

Earlier, an article in state-run Global Times spoke of India`s concerns relating to the project as it runs through the disputed Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Li said, "Geographically speaking the corridor runs through the Pakistan controlled Kashmir region, tribal regions of north western parts of Pakistan though to Gwadar port".

His reference to "Pakistan controlled Kashmir" is significant as all Chinese officials as well as state media routinely skip referring the PoK which connects both the countries. Much of the 2,000-km long planned economic corridor runs through PoK.

Also Li spoke of the significance of security of the project given the volatile situation prevailing in Pakistan which witnessed a spate of violent attacks.

Considering the situation "there must be security guarantee for the establishment of this corridor", Li said.

"I believe the precondition of the establishment of the corridor is improved, effectively improved security situation in this region so that the corridor can be established," he said.

"So I believe we must attach great importance to security environment and huge efforts must be made by various parties so that we can finish this very huge project," he said.

The corridor was mooted during this year`s visit to Pakistan by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and subsequently the two sides signed an agreement during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s visit here.
Li declined to name Pakistan directly while referring to the "hiding places" of the Islamic militants active in Xinjiang province.

"Some people say that it is South Asia," he said referring to the bases of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which is active in Xinjiang.

"This is not a well organised organisation. It does not stay in one fixed place. This kind of organisation is foxy. They do not stay in place. So it is a challenge for counter terrorism efforts," he said.

He also blamed Tibetan Youth League trying to promote terrorism in Tibet and cited an interview given by one of its leaders to a Italian TV speaking about armed rebellion.

Over 100 people committed self immolations in Tibet in recent months opposing the Chinese rule in Tibet as well as demanding the return of Dalai Lama, according to overseas Tibetan groups.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 - 20:36

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