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China dismisses India’s protests over PoK bus service, says Kashmir position unchanged

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday the bus service will be a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2018 16:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China Pakistan bus service,PoK,Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
India said it has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.(Reuters File Photo)

China said on Thursday it wasn’t aware of India’s protests against a Sino-Pakistan bus service through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) as part a bilateral economic corridor, arguing that the service will not change its stand on Kashmir.

The bus service between Kashgar in China’s far-western Xinjiang province and Lahore is expected to be launched on November 3 during Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s high-profile visit to the country.

India has protested the move, saying it’s a violation of its territorial sovereignty. The Chinese foreign ministry, however, played down India’s concerns.

“As for the bus service, I have not heard of the relevant information and I have not heard of complaints,” Lu Kang, the foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular ministry briefing on Thursday.

Media reports from Pakistan said the bus service is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship venture under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar connectivity project launched by President Xi Jinping.

“I have taken many questions regarding the CPEC. 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,” he said.

China’s stand, Lu said, is that the “…cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China’s principled position on Kashmir,” he said.

A Pakistani company has been quoted by media as saying the bus will run from Lahore to Kashgar four days a week.

“We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir under so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’,” an external affairs ministry spokesperson told media in New Delhi.

China maintains that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation.

The CPEC comprises several infrastructure projects that will finally connect China’s Xinjiang province with Balochistan’s Gwadar port.

First Published: Nov 01, 2018 15:18 IST