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India-US nexus: impact on CPEC

EVIDENCE suggest that the geopolitical influence Pakistan holds in the South Asian region and its growing economic power via CPEC has by all means become an envious concern in the eyes of international establishment whose players do not want to see a stable Pakistan since it may emerge as a strong bastion against their ulterior designs to divide and dominate the Muslim world. The western media is fully honeycombed with these reflections: Keeping a jaundiced eye on Pakistan’s nuclear programme; conspiring against our territorial integrity; and maligning our armed forces. With our strategic vision espoused by changing South Asian strategic culture, the Indo-US strategic agenda will certainly not succeed.
‘’The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan’’. Balochistan’s strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US. British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists. In June 2006, Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of “abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran” [Balochistan].Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain’s Secret Service to Baloch separatists . Also of relevance are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan’’.
While comparing Michael’s Chossudovsky’s past appraisal with the present scenario, we find an irrefutable degree of truth given the underpinnings of the US-UK-Israel alliance on the one side; and the Indo-Afghan accord on the other. The recent displaying scenes in UK and Switzerland about Free Balochistan endorse these negative notions. Pakistan has rejected anti-Pakistan propaganda run by the proscribed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) displayed on London-Geneva cabs and buses that directly attack Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua called in the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew in the Foreign Office recently and conveyed serious concerns of Pakistan on the issue.
The Chinese-led project has been India’s number one target because of two strategic reasons: firstly, CPEC dives through Gilgit-Baltistan, which Modi deceitfully claims as a part of their country’ regardless of the fact that internationally, this is a recognized part of the Pakistani territory for the last seven decades. The hawkish mindset in New Delhi advocates that an additional clash with Pakistan equals to a non-sustainable development, causing internal and external instability, thereby questioning the viability of the CPEC. To quest for the RSS/BJP hyper-nationalist objective for ceasing CPEC, which adventitiously aligns mischievously with the US’ grand euphoric strategy to destabalise Pakistan, India supports the US on the lines of the Ralph Peters’ conceived Blood Borders’ geopolitical tapestry. Despite the denial made by Washington in 2006, the subsequent developments support the notion that west’s intentions about Pakistan are not fair.
The US realizes that OBOR as being a vehicle by which Beijing can catalyze an irreversible change in the strategic balance of power of new trade routes and markets. By prioritizing India in South Asian region negating Pakistan’s numerous efforts in Afghanistan would further deteriorate the regional stability. India’s stance on CPEC that it passes through the disputed territories recently obtained support from the US and now Afghanistan is in the same camp. These all states should not undermine the prospects of development in the disputed territories through CPEC by China and Pakistan, otherwise the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be considered universal.
There are some tumultuous factors which are contributing in the growing Indo-Afghan nexus. First; historically India was the only South Asian country which recognized the (erstwhile) Soviet backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War. After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, India remained consistent in providing Najibullah’s government with humanitarian aid. Second; India’s bilateral trade with Afghanistan is increasing gradually for example it was $684.47 million during the time span of 2014-15. India’s export increased at $422.56 million and imports from Afghanistan worth of $261.91 million during the same time period. It is pertinent to discuss here that despite the lack of direct land access, India is the second largest destination for Afghan exports. Third; the defence facet, last year India delivered three Russian-made Mi-25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan (International Business Time Report). Fourth; India’s Prime Minister and President of Afghanistan M. Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the new Afghan Parliament building as India has constructed this building at worth of $90 million as a goodwill gesture. Fifth; According to Sushma Swaraj India is working with Afghanistan and Iran to develop a trilateral transit through the development of the Chabahar Port to connect with Afghanistan and beyond and lastly the most influential factor is the extra-regional role especially US role to bring close India to Afghanistan making this more important country in the South Asian region ignoring Pakistan’s role in War on Terror.
Furthermore, recent visit of PM Modi to US on 25-26 June, 2017 concluded the joint statement of both countries, announced that Washington would co-sponsor the Indo-Afghan export, Trade and Investment Fair in September 2017 and that support requires a sufficient participation from India in bringing the statement called “increased stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.” Likewise, a Pentagon Report titled as “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” released in June, 2017 has labeled India as Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner. Simultaneously this report underscored the Afghan oriented militant groups are being supported by Pakistan government. Following these statements, another development happened when the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s unannounced visit to Kabul on Oct 23 at Bagram Airfield north of Kabul which is the largest US base in Afghanistan. Tillerson said “Clearly we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory,”. Recently, Donald Trump’s Administration has unveiled a strategy to try to defeat the Taliban and other extremist groups in Afghanistan, and officials said more than 3,000 additional US troops are being sent to the country to reinforce the 11,000 US troops already stationed in the country. He also emphasized that the US new strategy towards Afghanistan making this obvious that US is committed to working with Afghan government and with partners across the region ( the priority is given to India) to bring peace in Afghanistan and deny safe heavens to terrorist who threaten this objective ( accusation on Pakistan). It is pertinent to discuss here that if the objective is to bring peace to Afghanistan and the whole region as well then prioritizing one South Asian country is in this process of peace is unsound. Pakistan should be assimilated and the process of peace should be inclusive instead of biased.
Later on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani visited India just a day after Tillerson’s visit to Afghanistan and termed the Trump administration’s new South Asia strategy as a “game-changer” for the region as it “recommends multi-dimensional condition-based approach for the region.” Then question arises that how this policy would be game changer in which just India is needed for US in terms of Afghanistan? Following these developments, Ghani said that Kabul will restrict Pakistan’s access to Central Asia if it is not given access to India through the CPEC project, according to the DNA (Daily News and Analysis) article by addressing a gathering at the Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi. He said that his country will not be a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) unless it is given access to Pakistan’s Wagah border, DNA India reported. Hence it is inevitable here to raise the argument that real game changer of the region is also CPEC project being inclusive which is neither restricting Afghanistan nor India. The comment came a week after a meeting took place between representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States in Oman, in which the revival of peace talks with the Taliban was discussed. Hence both Afghanistan and India should also perceive the CPEC project a threat to them. It also pertinent to discuss here that US backing India on CPEC by claiming that it runs through the disputed territory, how self-centered these nations on halting the development on those disputed regions and on the other hand they are concerned with peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Summing up the above arguments, as President Ghani said, “Afghanistan’s no unless Pakistan gives access to India through CPEC”, is baseless and seems like under pressure of India. It gives the depiction that US has its own concerns to contain China’s influence in South Asia, India’s concerns to halt this project to contain China and claims over disputed territories. Eventually both the US and India came together on their obnoxious stance on CPEC and now they are influencing Afghanistan against this development. However this project is simply a development project and would bring prosperity and regional connectivity of the whole South Asian region. Afghanistan should not be part of this containment policy instead it should focus on its development and cooperation with all neighboring countries. As far as China and Pakistan are concerned, China would not give up CPEC just because of mere Indian protests. The Indian government will not cease its developmental activities in Arunachal Pradesh either (disputed territory). But is it not important to respect the voices of communities residing in disputed territories as a priority rather than following the institutional norms in developmental activities? From inter-governmental institutions like ADB/World Bank to each country sharing disputed territories like India or China or Pakistan, it is foremost important to stand up with rights to development of communities. Otherwise, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be considered ‘universal’. The CPEC is a flagship of this initiative because it provides China with reliable non-Malacca access to the Indian Ocean. Russia has also backed this initiative.
To counter broad spectrum threats against CPEC, Pakistan government has raised special security forces for the protection of strategic project, this must be augmented with a Pak-China CPEC intelligence organization, satellite monitoring and enhanced maritime collaboration. Another multinational organization, led by China, must be formed, to respond to the threats posed to the BRI, through coordinated political, diplomatic, economic, security and surveillance measures. Despite heavy odds, many CPEC projects are already up and running. This is a clear message about the resilience and determination of the Chinese and the Pakistani people, who are committed to its success not only for their own benefit, but also for others to diversify and develop their economies. This should inspire everyone to support, rather than oppose the CPEC.
Besides that western policy has lost its moorings since Pakistanis are intelligent enough to understand and counterfeit this western game. By all manifestations, the Chinese indoctrinated CPEC project of expanding soft power has become a leitmotiv of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan is united in our stand with China to comply the committed CPEC dynamics in the region. The growing China-Pakistan-Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance is an antidote to western engineered evil plot. The Brookings Institute expert Stephen P Cohen is not wrong when he says, “because of nuclearisation India can’t conceive of finishing off Pakistan. The only realistic option for India is cooperation’’.

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