China caught in a corridor of uncertainty

By tying up the Uri attack with concern for CPEC, Beijing has shown that its views on terror are shaped by its interests

China’s comments after the Uri attack amount to Beijing’s admission of deep strategic interest in the Kashmir region, experts and diplomats told The Hindu. Describing the attack as “shocking”, China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “sympathy” for the victims and asked for “relevant parties” to create a favourable environment which will secure CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“China is unable to appreciate India’s concerns about constructing important projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that is historically part of India. Beijing is following a contradictory policy by declaring that the CPEC should be safe while not doing more to stop terror strikes that originate from Pakistan to attack Afghanistan and India,” said Shashank, former Foreign Secretary. China’s statement regarding the Uri attack reveals the fact that Beijing is willing to stake its diplomacy for the major projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he said.

China on Monday had said, that CPEC which passes through PoK is aimed at bringing development to the entire South Asia region.

“The goal of the CPEC is to serve the region by facilitating better development of regional countries. Naturally, relevant parties are required to make concerted efforts to ensure a safe, sound and favourable environment for the CPEC. As I said earlier we have been following the tension in this region, including in Kashmir recently. The Chinese government holds the position that all relevant parties can join hands to resolve these issues through friendly consultation and uphold regional peace and security, as this is in the fundamental and common interests of all regional countries, China, Pakistan and India included,” said Lu Kang, Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

By tying up the Uri attack with concern for CPEC, Beijing has shown that its views on terror are shaped by its evolving interests in the South Asian region, Mr. Shashank said. “China wants to build its One Belt One Road (OBOR) but other countries especially India will not sacrifice their core interests for Beijing projects,” Mr. Shashank said.

However, experts also cautioned that China too has reasons to be worried by terrorism from Pakistan which has spread to the Xinxiang province of China. “China too has its concerns regarding Pakistan’s ‘deep state’ which supports terrorism. However China plans to engage them with a regional strategic perspective as it does not consider the threat to be its biggest challenge,” said Dr. P. Stobdan of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.

India’s efforts to blacklist terror plotter Masood Azhar at the U.N. for the Pathankot attack of January 2 could not succeed due to the “technical hold” that China placed on India’s move at the UN. Diplomats say that India’s plans to eliminate cross-border terror is unlikely to succeed without China’s support at the UN.

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